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Project by Olaf Gradin posted 08-22-2008 07:11 PM 2644 views 11 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have maintained a growing heap of compost in the back yard for a few years now. I had originally simply fenced off an area of 16 square feet with plastic chicken wire and T-Posts. Our dog was able to get in under the fence pretty easily to scavenge some tasty morsels out of the stinkin’ pile. I finally took a weekend to build a proper composting bin just recently.

I got the plans out of an outdoor projects magazine I had laying around. It’s essentially just a very small fenced in area with removable slats. I buried the posts 2’ (post-hole digging isn’t exactly a party) while keeping them [mostly] plumb and squared to each other. Then it’s a matter of attaching the rail and dropping 45° angled slats in. The hardest part of the whole project was digging holes. The next hardest was avoiding the grand diversity of creatures that had made this pile their home. Hornets, yellow jackets, and creepy-crawlies were abundant among them. It was the watermelon I threw in the heap that attracted so many hornets. A note to those that might try this project, you’re perhaps better off building it on fresh ground rather than attempting to build it around pre-existing compost!

-- It takes a viking to raze a village. &mdash Blog'r:

20 comments so far

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4507 days

#1 posted 08-22-2008 07:26 PM

Nice work. Yes, any time I’ve ever rebuilt a compost surround, I’ve been fortunate enough to have enough room to pick a new spot.. Good lesson learned.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4361 days

#2 posted 08-22-2008 08:30 PM

great job!
I like the angled slats.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View woodnut's profile


393 posts in 4253 days

#3 posted 08-22-2008 11:05 PM

A quick question about compost. Can you use sawdust in the compost pile? I ask this becouse I was thinking of ways to use my sawdust other than throwing it over the hill.

-- F.Little

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3966 days

#4 posted 08-23-2008 03:00 AM

I don’t think saw dust would be good for a compost pile. It tends to feed off the nitrogen and pretty much use it all up. There’s been lots of posts about this you you’d like to search it. Nice job on the bins. Lots of stuff that goes in the trash can be turned to black gold. If you don’t think this stuff works, try it for a year or so.

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 4077 days

#5 posted 08-23-2008 02:13 PM

Pretties compost pile I ever saw.

-- Ron Central, CA

View Dean's profile


44 posts in 3777 days

#6 posted 08-24-2008 02:26 AM

Looks like a good solution, and probably made that corner of the yard a better place (except in the dog’s opinion of course).

Gotta love your signature…

-- "Skol, Vikings"

View Olaf Gradin's profile

Olaf Gradin

73 posts in 4040 days

#7 posted 08-24-2008 05:04 AM

Despite the research on sawdust in the compost bin, I do dump mine in. As large a pile as I have, I can’t imagine it’s depriving it of all the available nitrogen. That, and keeping it turned is a big part of composting. If you do that, I have to imagine that you’re able to keep a better mixture of chemical ingredients.

-- It takes a viking to raze a village. &mdash Blog'r:

View Olaf Gradin's profile

Olaf Gradin

73 posts in 4040 days

#8 posted 08-24-2008 05:06 AM

Skål, Dean!

-- It takes a viking to raze a village. &mdash Blog'r:

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3929 days

#9 posted 08-26-2008 10:33 PM

i wonder if there would be a way to plant some nitrogen fixing plants around the sides and back? Just something that popped into my head.

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3966 days

#10 posted 08-27-2008 01:44 AM

Olaf, I’m just wondering what your dog likes so much in the compost? When my dogs get a chance to get close to mine, they love to sniff around and dig some, but I’ve never seen them eating anything out of the pile.
- JJ

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4370 days

#11 posted 08-27-2008 03:49 AM

I use one third sawdust in my compost bin. Been doing it for years. Works fine.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4278 days

#12 posted 08-27-2008 04:28 AM

very nice…I need to build one…and this looks just like one I saw in a magazine article that was sent to me…great job on it…

Did the plan call for such a depth in the posts or did you just decide to sink them that far…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Olaf Gradin's profile

Olaf Gradin

73 posts in 4040 days

#13 posted 08-27-2008 05:25 AM

@ juniorjock: My dog eats apples and grapes, so she’s good for anything she can scavenge. I’m not really sure what she eats out of there. She may just role in the bugs or something, but she tends to stink afterward!

@ Napaman: The plan did call for the depth. You could build it stationary as I did, or portable with some slight modifications (albeit less digging).

-- It takes a viking to raze a village. &mdash Blog'r:

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3904 days

#14 posted 08-28-2008 10:57 PM

Great job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3913 days

#15 posted 10-23-2008 08:23 PM

Ideally, make layers of materials such as a woody, dry layer (newsprint, which has soy ink these days) or dry leaves, woodchips or sawdust, and a green layer such as food waste, green plants, etc. Continue to build in layers. Depending on climate, you might or might not really need to turn. Also depending on whether or not you want to compost hot or not. If it’s dry, you might want to slightly dampen each layer with a sprinkle of water. But in the end, no matter what you do it will probably turn out fine in the long run.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

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