Now the raised beds are finished ... or at least ready for soil ... and we've tidied up the bottom of the garden, it's time to think about the composting bins.
In an ideal world we'd have 3, so you could have the standard: filling, maturing, and using; setup. But we only have space for 2, well if we want to leave space for a garden shed in the future anyway.
We could buy some, but we still have some of the reclaimed decking we used for constructing the smaller raised beds, so we we thought we'd have a go at building our own. That means we can make them exactly the shape we want, with all the features we want.
We had a bit of a brain storming session over the weekend and this is preliminary design we came up with ...
- Pond liner at the bottom to catch and collect run off. This serves two functions. Firstly it stops the run off contaminating the nearby ground and communinal path (always try to keep on the good side of the neighbours), and secondly it means the run off can be collected and used as a liquid fertiliser. We bought a new 2x2m PVC one at a cost of £19.
- Paving slabs are placed on top of the pond liner to protect it when you use a shovel to dig out the compost. We have a few spares lying around at the stables.
- Buried Guttering to collect the run off and channel it to a can for collection. We have a length in the garage so it won't cost us anything.
- Mesh on top of the guttering to prevent it from becoming blocked. This was just some scraps we had hanging around.
- Hinged Flap on the front so we can dig compost out from the bottom up without having to remove the front slats. It will be removable. We had to buy some hinges for this - £10.
- Front Slats - the rest of the slats in the front will be set on ledges so they can be dropped in as needed.
We had to buy the posts for this project, seven in all @ £2.67each, so £18.69 in total. We could have used some existing we have at the stables, but they're not in the best condition and we didn't want to have to rebuild everything in a couple of years. We did look at using angle iron posts for the corners as an even longer term solution, but that would have tripled the cost (ouch!).
The post are pressure treated so they should last for quite a few years. But just to be sure we're going to paint the posts with bitumen paint to make them even more resistant. This might seem like over kill, but we're on clay soil and it tends to rot out wood in it quite quickly.
We're planning to put lids on the bins, but those will be made from some marine ply and roofing felt scraps that we have hanging around.
The total cost so far is about £50, which seems like a lot, but as I said at the start, it means we'll get exactly what we want. I don't think we've particularly saved money by doing it this way, but there is something immensely satisfying about building things yourself :-)