Interesting Compost Set-Up For Large Gardens

David Trammel's picture

I thought this set-up for large-scale garden composting was a great way of re-thinking the way we typically handle the turning over and filling of compost bins.

"One Rule Compost" by RED Gardens

What the vblogger does is move the compost bin, not the compost. Which would certainly save the back-breaking job of forking over the huge amount of compost that a larger garden/household generates.

1) He built heavy-duty sides and bottoms, which screw together, then as each new bin is filled and ready to start cooking, he moves. He has four sections, though he does state that six or seven might be preferable since he doesn't turn over the sections as often as is normally recommended. He only turns over the first filled bin, when putting it into rotation.

2) He uses heavy welded steel mesh, not lighter chicken wire. This helps in two ways, it strengthens the bin construction and seems to lower the number of pests (like rats) he has to deal with. He does mention that he went from rat traps to using a torch to burn out the burrows (watch the video for more on that, time stamp 6:45).

3) Here you can see the bottoms he built and used. He takes a heavy section of welded wire and then supports it with 2x4s. This allows air to get into the bottom of the pile and seems to compensate for the fact he does not turn the piles as often.

4) He puts plastic covers over his bins, lowering the amount of moisture via rain, which gets to his piles. So you would need to watch the moisture content of your piles and add water as needed. Not sure why he does this. He does say he should have put wire mesh under the plastic since pests claw holes in it to get to the compost.

You would need a fairly large patch of ground to do this. Since you are basically moving the entire compost setup, slowly in one direction. Perhaps, twice the length of your complete setup?

It is also more expensive since instead of scavenged wooden pallets, you are using metal welded mesh. Though this material should last quite a bit longer.

What do you think?

Ken's picture

I much prefer to 'rapid-compost' food waste via chickens, pigs, etc. cabbage leaves and broccoli stalks go from the cutting board to the feed bucket and become bacon and eggs far more quickly than they break down in a compost bin. I haven't done it myself because of an aversion to infernal combustion engines, but I think a little Briggs and Stratton chipper/shredder could be a way to get your compost perking faster. I deliver horse manure with a 3 yard dump trailer to people who use that as a base for their composting systems. I have lots of repeat customers so it must work...

David Trammel's picture

For larger set-ups yes, I'd definitely have a shredder/chipper on site. Biological pretreatment via the digestive tract of small animals is also good if you have the biological processors on site.