I made a compost bin yesterday in a corner of the garden. If you read any books on composting, especially by men, they recommend making a bin from chicken wire. This contains the heap and allows for air circulation. There are other materials used for compost bins such as pallets, plastic, etc., but chicken wire is cheap.

I found two pieces of leftover chicken wire in our barn. They were the perfect size and I didn’t have to cut them. Since I am trying to save money in the garden, after the purchase of all the straw bales for my straw bale gardening experiment this year…

Strawberry plants in straw bales.

Straw bale garden.

I didn’t want to spend any money on the compost bin. I also wanted to get a good, hot compost bin going so that I won’t have to spend as much money next year on fertilizer, or other additions for my soil.

I used rebar hammered into the ground for the base. I added fiberglass tomato stakes over the rebar. They have a center hole that allows them to slide right over the rebar. I attached the chicken wire to the back side of our preexisting fence and the stakes with cable ties.

Chicken wire attached to fiberglass tomato stakes with cable ties.

Chicken wire attached to fiberglass tomato stakes with cable ties.

I then used a smaller piece of the chicken wire to make a “door” between the red post on the left side and the yellow post. I attached this piece to the yellow post with cable ties in several places, and when I want to open it to add wheelbarrow loads of weeds, grass, and leaves, it bends back and can be propped open.

To close the door, I hammered nails into a wooden tomato stake and bent them up. The chicken wire attaches over the nails and holds the “door” shut.

Nail holding "door" closed.

Nail holding “door” closed.

I had been weeding and the wheelbarrow fit right though the door area and was easily dumped.

I have been totally sold on making my own compost.

On Monday I planted okra. The bed I used had held tomato plants last summer. I had liberally mulched around the tomato plants with straw. In the fall when I planted this same bed with collards and kale, I left the straw in place and added garden soil over the top and planted  in that. When I started digging in this bed to get ready to plant the okra, I noticed that the straw underneath had greatly decomposed and the bed was full of the fattest earthworms I have ever seen. The soil was rich and black.

To plant the okra, I only added composted cow manure to the rows so the worms would not be harmed and left them to continue their composting of the straw, leaving behind their castings, which is the best fertilizer of all.

Are you composting to save money?

“He also took some of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil. He placed it beside abundant waters; he set it like a willow.” Ezekiel 17:5 (NASB)