Using old pallets to build walls of compost bin?

Discussion in 'Organic Gardening' started by cherylad, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    Is there any reason why I couldn't use old pallets for the walls of my compost bin/pile?
    Thanks for any input/suggestions!
     
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  3. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    If there is a reason not to, I hope my compost bin doesn't hear of it!
    We used old pallets for a three-sided bin, anchored by T-posts. So far it has held up for three years.
    We added a second bin, using one side of the pallet bin and adding old cedar fencing slats for the other two sides, again anchored by T-posts and this time with chicken wire on the bottom 2/3 of the bin to keep everything from falling between the slats.
    If you have the pallets, I say use them. They allow some air circulation, are sturdy, and cheap (the best part).
     
  4. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    The only concern I would have is if the wood has been treated with a wood preservative. That said, while I am aware of concerns about preservatives leaching into the soil, however, I am not an expert. I can only raise the question. Maybe others know more about old pallets and their characteristics.

    Jerry
     
  5. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    Thanks Jane and Jerry.
    Yet again, my brother read somewhere or talked to someone that said NOT to use pallets. I don't know where he gets his info... but I'd put my money on this lot of gardeners any day!
    Bless his heart... he means well... but he should focus his attention more on his boats than in the garden! :D
    He probably just wants something "perfect/fancy looking" whereas, I want something functional yet cheap/free.
    Two of the pallets are very old/weathered... but still very much intact. The other is relatively new/unused. I've kept them just for this purpose and will go ahead with my plans.
    And my plans do include placing plants nearby to hide any of it's "ugliness".
     



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  6. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    As Jerry said, some folks are worried about any treatment the wood may have received.
    There is a pallet retrieval company not far from here, so I called them and asked before we used ours. It seems that pallets are so cheap that companies that make them don't spend money on chemical treatments--they give them a steam bath to kill any fungus/insects if they do anything at all. Of course, the pallets may have picked up something along the way, but it IS a compost pile, otherwise known as a pile of rotting garden debris!
     
  7. Netty

    Netty Chaotic Gardener Plants Contributor

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    My response was going to be similar to yours marlingardener. Putting preservatives on would cost companies thousands of dollars - something they wouldn't spend if they didn't have to.
     
  8. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    I know of several people on our complex that use them..I have used small palets as an under base (what I pile all the debris onto). I like using them, as under bases because of air flow.
    I would imagine that it would be Oké there.
    Good luck with your bin.
     
  9. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    Thanks all for the input. If my brother gives me any trouble, I'm bring him to the Stew so you all can straighten him out! :D
     
  10. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    Ooooh.... you don't want to meet up with Cherylad's brother. He is a dragon, breaths fire and did something to Mrs. McPhersons garden and is she ever mad. :)

    Jerry
     
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  11. Coppice

    Coppice In Flower

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    I've used pallets as boundaries for compost bins for many years.

    They are free or very cheep.
     
  12. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    I did go ahead and use them. Let's see how long they last. If I get a couple years out of them... well worth the battle with my brother. And like you said, they are either free or cheap, so easy to replace if/when they fall apart.
     
  13. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    Cheryl, we are going into our fourth summer with the pallet compost bins, and they haven't started to fall apart or rot at all. The only problem we had was one "wall" started to bow out (when I overloaded the bin, oops!) and we had to straighten it.
    Be sure to secure them well so you don't end up with the funnel effect we had!
     
  14. halfway

    halfway Seedling

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    Pull one "face" off and use as flooring for the bin with about 1/2" between boards. Lets the worms travel freely and allows a little air to circulate as well. It also makes the bin "walls" narrower as well.
     

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