Where I used to live in Kansas, there was a house a few blocks from me that had the most beautiful sculpted concrete compost bins ever. The bin system was perfect: Three bins side-by-side for rotating the baking compost, high walls, gorgeous curved tops with decorative elements formed into the concrete. I figured the cost to build these beautiful bins was equal to what I was investing in new windows for a drafty back room in my 1880-era home.
I didn’t have the money to invest in the glorious compost mecca that my neighbor had, but I did invest in a black plastic job that my City offered for about $10 at the time. I never really could make good use of this bin, though: it was easy to put compost in the top, but I couldn’t mix the compost and it was hard to get the formed compost out of the bottom of the thing. I have similar complaints about some of the black plastic bins I see that can cost $150. They seem more complicated to use than compost requires, and they are not expandable. What happens when you fill that rotating bin up, which I’d do in a few weeks? Do I really want to buy an additional, hundred plus dollar rotating bin? No thanks!
My ideal compost bin is both cheap and functional, but I want it to be nice to look at, too. I don’t think compost needs to be hidden from view at all; in fact, I think a good compost bin is a beautiful thing worthy of a decent amount of showing off! Flaunt your compost, I say!
My favorite bin of all time was built by a friend on a homestead in central Massachusetts. It was simply a series of small tree trunks stacked in a square, log-home style. It’s a beautiful bin, and you can easily add branches as the pile increases, or remove branches for easy turning. But I don’t have access to such wood so I went with an alternative: cage wire.
Cage wire comes in 10-foot rolls that is easily formed into a circle, and costs about $25. Use pliers to take the loose wires at one end of the roll and connect them to the other side to form a circle. This makes a bin that’s just about the perfect size for compost (the recommended size for a compost bin is between 3 feet to 5 feet in diameter). Simply place the cage on the ground and start adding your raw material! When you need to mix your compost, all you need to do is pick up the cage and move it over, then shovel the compost back in. That’s my solution for a cheap, functional, and nice looking compost bin!