Wire-Mesh Holding Unit
A wire-mesh holding unit is inexpensive and easy to build out of either galvanized chicken wire or hardware cloth. Non-galvanized chicken wire can also be used, but will not last very long. Posts provide more stability for a chicken wire bin, but make the bin difficult to move. A wire-mesh bin made without posts is easy to lift, and provide access to the compost that is already "done" at the bottom of the pile while the compost at the top of the pile is still decomposing.
- At least a 10-foot length of 36-inch-wide 1-inch galvanized chicken wire or
- At least a 10-foot length of ½-inch-wide hardware cloth (Note that the maximum bin diameter for a given length of chicken wire is the length of chicken wire divided by 3.14)
- Heavy wire for ties
- Three or four 4-foot-tall wooden or metal posts (for chicken wire bin)
- Hammer (for chicken wire bin)
- Heavy-duty wire or tin snips
- Metal file (for hardware cloth bin)
- Work gloves
Building Your Holding Unit
Using Chicken Wire
- Fold back 3 to 4 inches of wire at each end of the cut piece to provide a strong, clean edge that will not poke or snag, and that will be easy to latch.
- Stand the wire in a circle and set in place for the compost pile.
- Cut the heavy wire into lengths for ties. Attach the ends of the chicken wire together with the wire ties, using pliers.
- Space wood or metal posts around the inside of the chicken-wire circle. Holding the posts tightly against the wire, pound them firmly into the ground to provide support.
Using Hardware Cloth
Technical Information for Galvanized Hardware Cloth: Economical steel mesh, hot-dipped zinc coating, 36-inch roll width, 10-foot length is best, heavily galvanized, firm and non-raveling. Common name: Two-mesh galvanized welded. Usually seen being used for rabbit cages.
- Trim the ends of the hardware cloth so that the wires are flush with a cross wire to get rid of edges that could poke or scratch hands. Lightly file each wire along the cut edge to ensure safe handling when opening and closing the bin.
- Bend the hardware cloth into a circle, and stand it in place for the compost pile.
- Cut the heavy wire into lengths for ties. Attach the ends of the hardware cloth together with the wire ties, using pliers.