How To Make Compost Bays From Recycled Pallets

An easy and low cost way to make a set of compost bays made from recycled pallets

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My old compost bays were in a sorry state so I needed to build a better place to make all the compost required for my property. I have a pretty large vegetable garden, and about 80 fruit trees so buying compost and fertiliser all the time is way too expensive so by making my own I'm not only recycling garden waste and kitchen scraps I'm saving a bucket of money also.

I decided to use recycled wooden pallets which were not very hard to find at all. I either found the pallets abandoned or ready to be thrown out next to industrial bins with rubbish all over them. Naturally, to build a structure this size out of wood purchased from a hardware store would cost quite a bit of money so using acquired pallets, left over coach screws from a retaining wall, and old star pickets all I really spent money on was four cans of touch up paint costing $12 all up!

The overall size of the bays is 4.2 m x 2.35 and the internal dimensions as far as composting space goes is 1.2 m wide x 1.2 m high x 2.0 m long and this gives me plenty of room to stack garden waste and kitchen scraps for the composting results I want.

3 bays is not an idea I came up with but I have read about the 3 bay system and seen it on lifestyle shows ect. Basically, bay 1 is filled and when the bottom of the heap breaks down it is turned into bay 2 so the top of the heap becomes the bottom and covered then once the heap has fully broken down into compost it is turned into bay 3 for storage, further maturing, and used in the garden. As the first bay is turned into the second the first bay is then free to begin adding matter to it again.

I'll probably use the third bay (in reality) as a storage and maturing area for manures I collect because I often go and grab a trailer load of horse manure from a mate and need a place to keep it before spreading it on my garden. Same for when I clean out my poultry pens as I can often get a full trailer of chicken and quail poop mixed with straw and I don't always need to put it straight onto the garden.

The build couldn't be easier - the pallets are held in place by star pickets hammered in on the inside, the two side pallets are joined in the middle by a large coach screw, and then I've used long wood screws to join all the sections together top and bottom wherever appropriate until the structure was nice and solid.

I have given more in depth build instructions here and also written an article about it on my blog.


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Pros: I love this Idea recycling old wooden pallets Very clever! The only pallets we can find locally are at our dump and you aren't allowed to take them unfortunately they have cameras that make sure you don't take anything.
You should be able to take them I mean we pay over $500 quarterly in rates! we worked it out $40 a week! We live in a small town and have hardly anything for it! hahaha anyway great Idea! Very clever and I would love to make something like this :)
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Pros: lots of room, easy access, cheap to build, fast and easy to build
Cons: no cons I can think of really - I guess you do need room for this type of composting system
This is a top way to build a compost heap or bays for a serious gardener and garden.


G'day Mark. I tried to click on the link to your blog on this great simple set up but it was broken. Would it perhaps be located elsewhere on your blog?
Mine is similar but no where near as flash, not painted and only one pallet deep .I like that idea for the being deeper ...another project lol
Hi Mark,

This is something that I'm going to get underway shortly at my place, however I will probably only go one pallet deep to begin with (I like the option for future expansion though, very clever) I was wondering if top of the compost bins need to be covered or not due to rain?

Thanks in advance and I hope to hear from you soon.
Great idea, and now I know what to do with my pallets!
You see, when I order landscaping materials and/or soil amendments from (Lowe's or Home Depot) I have that heavy stuff delivered. Since delivery costs extra money, I make sure I have a big enough order to justify the expenditure. With those bulky orders, they wrap the goods onto a wooden pallet and bring them onto the property with a forklift. Since I'm a grandmotherly looking person, the fellas who deliver my pallets are solicitous and, so far, have been more than happy to place the pallets wherever I want, so that's nice. Anyway, I've got a few pallets I haven't quite known exactly what to do with until now, so thank you!
I stumbled across your YouTube channel and have been enjoying your videos immensely. We are in the US, Zone 7, in an area that has hot, dry Summers (avg 83-95*F / 28-35*C) and cold, sometimes snowy Winters (avg 27-49*F / -2.7-9.4*C). I am very keen on making this pallet compost bin. One question that I have not seen answered in threads, comments or otherwise, is 'Orientation' of the compost bin. Most SPECIFICALLY, which direction ought I orient my compost bin? As the next project would be the "Food Wall"! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and I apologize in-advance if I missed this bit of information elsewhere on your site. Again, thank you for making this information so accessible and really easy to follow.

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