Build the perfect compost bin

It's inexpensive, easy to build, and features five stackable sections for simple, efficient composting

A compost bin with a college degree

Andrew Drake

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When horticulturists at the University of California Cooperative Extension set out to design the perfect compost bin, they wanted one that was simple to build, easy to use, and efficient at making compost. The bin shown here meets those criteria.

This 3-foot-square unit consists of five sections. You start the compost pile by filling one or two sections with organic matter, then stack on the other sections as you add more material. By following the recipe below, you can have a load of finished compost in about six weeks.

TIME: Two to three hours

COST: $50 to $75, depending on the grade of wood (we used untreated pine)


• 60 feet 1-by-6 utility wood
• 10 feet 2-by-2 utility wood
• 80 2-inch woodscrews
• 1 quart of wood sealer


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