palletecture

New Compost Bin, Part II

After yesterday’s exertions, today’s next steps started with making some lumber for the front panels. This involved taking apart another pallet – the fourth used to make the bin – into its component pieces.

This involved the use of my favorite and most-used tool, a Wonderbar, made by good old Stanley:

External image

I’ve used my wonderbar, which my mother gave me (or possibly left here by accident, to be appropriated into the homestead toolkit), extensively for prying trim off the walls, for destroying the front bedroom during Epic Remodel 2011, and all manner of other tasks. It’s the perfect tool for pulling apart pallets, too, because you can pound the angle end under a joint and pry up the wood enough to get a claw hammer into the space for some real leverage.

External image

All told, I spent about an hour sitting in the back alley hammering and prying and getting pleasantly rained on (yay summer!), and ultimately reduced the pallet to basically a bunch of usable 1x4s and 2x4s, bent nails, and scraps for the compost pile:

External image

I needed these pieces – the wood, not the nails; I reuse and upcycle a lot of things, but I am not that hardcore – for two parts of the bin, the “tracks” and the slats to make up the front wall. The 2x4 pieces, cut down by about eight inches, made excellent tracks; and the 1x4 pieces, extended by sistering two pieces together, made perfectly adequate slats.

External image

With that, new compost bin was complete! Here it is with all the slats in:

External image

And here it is with the top foot or so of in-progress compost from the old pile, plus that wheelbarrow full of sticks and stuff culled from the back yard proper:

External image

I am very pleased with how this project turned out. The bin is a good size and I like the location, and it’s very satisfying to have a major infrastructure improvement made entirely for free (the screws were leftover from various other household projects). I’m also delighted that I got it completed the day before I return to work for the biggest and busiest weekend of the year – it seems like I usually leave whatever I’m working on half-finished for far too long, and this time I did it all in two days.

Next up, next week (or later): harvesting the rest of the old pile and throwing whatever isn’t composted into the new bin. Related to this is building some new raised beds for the raspberries and strawberries, which is where I’ll need nice composted soil.

vertical gardening

I got very disillusioned with growing things when everything I planted was eaten by slugs in 2012.  Small steps now with a pallet and some window boxes my mother in law didn’t want. This is swiss chard. I’m on the look out for hardy “greens” that will be happy to spend the winter on the garage wall.