wire Compost Bins
Probably the cheapest and simplest way to build large compost bins suitable for bigger gardens is to make them out of chicken wire. To do this you :-
A. Cut and roll into a circle a piece of chicken wire
Role a length of chicken wire into a circle, tie ends together and support with stakes.
Fill with compostable material. When the compost process is finished simply untie the ends and peel wire away.
b. place the wire into a circleRoll the wire into a circle and tie ends together. Place one end of the wire on the ground and drive two or three garden stakes or star pickets into the ground just inside the wire. This should keep the wire in an upright position. Loosely tie the stakes to the wire with string.
c. fill with compostable materialFill with green waste as per the usual method of making compost.
D. Remove chicken wireWhen the composting process has finished simply untie the chicken wire and peel it back. This should give you a neat pile of compost that is ready to shovel onto your garden.
Like Plastic Compost Bins wire bins are much more mobile and can be moved to where the material that needs to be composted is, rather than carting it to the compost bin.
While wire compost bins can be very useful there are four main problems with them.
1. Risk of drying outThe bacteria needed to break down organic matter requires moist conditions to thrive. If the compost becomes too dry it can slow down the composting process and effect it's quality. Because wire compost bins are more ventilated than other types of bins they are at greater risk of drying out.
2. Susceptible to couch grass infestationsIf you have Couch grass growing in the soil around a chicken wire compost bin the Couch will rapidly invade your compost. Not only will you have a major weeding job on your hand but it will make the compost useless as even the smallest piece of Couch rootstock left in the compost will quickly regrow. So if you spread your compost onto your garden you are very likely to spread the Couch.
4. Sprouting of weed seedsSunlight flooding in through the chicken wire will cause seeds in the sides of the compost to sprout. If there are weed seeds in the compost bin then this can be quite a problem. In bins with wooden or plastic sides this is less likely to happen.
However these problems in using wire compost bins can be overcome. Materials such as Hessian bags or old carpet underfelt placed on top of the bins will both reduce evaporation and retard seed germination, at least at the top of the compost bin. And, if you have chickens, by placing the bins in your chicken run you will eliminate most of the sprouting weeds because the chickens will constantly peck and scratch around and on top of the bins. See Compost Bins in the Chicken Run for details.
Although not as good as wooden or corrugated iron bins the ease of construction and relative low cost of chicken wire bins make them well worth considering.