Simple Starter Compost Pile | Wire Basket

Simple Starter Wire Basket Composter

This composting mesh basket is made out of 1/2 inch hardware cloth.  This particular basket is primarily used to protect the enclosed wisteria vine from digging chickens and desiccation.

A simple way to start a compost pile is to create a wire basket.  Take a sheet of mesh fencing such as chicken wire, hardware cloth, or chain link fencing that is readily accessible.  Overlap the sides of the mesh to make a tube. Fasten the sides together with wire, plastic ties, lacing, twist ties, or other fastener of your choice. Secure the bottom of the pile so that it won’t blow over in the wind. In the first illustrated wire basket, I used bricks that I put in the bottom of the tube and surrounding it.  The tube is also tied to the adjacent chain link fence with wire. An alternative method of securing the compost basket is to secure it to wood or metal stakes driven into the ground.

The second illustration of a wire mesh basket composter is a photo that I took at the Victor Valley College Department of Agriculture’s Garden. This composter doesn’t appear to be secured to the ground.  It is larger and may have sufficient mass to hold itself in place.

Wire Mesh Compost PIle - Victor Valley Community College Department of Agriculture

Wire Mesh Basket Composter.  Department of Agriculture Garden, Victor Valley College

For optimal composting action, the basket should have a minimum volume of one cubic yard or one cubic meter.  Smaller composters will be less efficient. In wet climates, protect the compost from rain that can leach the nutrients away from decomposing material.  In dry climates, protect the compost from drying out.  This particular pile gets watered daily.  My larger pile is watered and turned weekly.

Once constructed, layer in yard wastes, kitchen scraps, and animal bedding.  Add a fist full of local soil to inoculate the pile with local decomposers.


About Caliche Chick

I retired from a career as an Environmental Scientist and Botanist. My first career was teaching science and English as a Second Language (ESL), and content classes for ESL students at the middle school level. I also taught introductory biology at the community college level. I have an avid interest in plants that grow with little to no irrigation. I also keep a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and back yard chickens. When I am not in my yard, I am taking Construction Technology Classes at Victor Valley College and working on my "fixer upper" home.
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