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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