If you have a garden, then you know how handy a compost bin can be. But not every gardener has a compost bin. They either have a little pile at the back of the yard or maybe even send all their compostable materials right out with the weekly trash.

There are a lot of different types of compost bins and many that you can build yourself. It’s easy to go to your local home improvement center and get a few yards of hardware cloth and simply make it into a circle. Hardware cloth is a sort of wire fencing with small holes about a half-inch square. You can also use a chicken wire (also called wire mesh) if you either wrap it around stakes pounded into the ground or build a framework. But some of the easiest compost bins are made from a combination of wood pallets and wire mesh.

If you want to make a wood pallet compost bin, you’ll need some wooden pallets and rustproof deck screws to hold them together. You can usually check around and find the pallets for free at lawn equipment stores or any store that has their shipments come in on pallets.

Once you have all your necessary parts, determine the size and shape of the compost bin. Obviously, much of this will depend on the number of pallets you have and their size. Lay out the pallets and join each section individually. Pallets are usually made from hardwood which can often be difficult, if not downright impossible to nail. Instead, use your power drill to predrill holes and then attach a screwdriver type bit to your drill and insert the rustproof deck screws. Then stand the sections up and join them at the corners.

The front of the compost bin can be hinged like a door for easy opening, and if you were lucky enough to find enough pallets, you could even add a top. It might also be good to line your bin with chicken wire to help keep out rodents.

You can add things like eggshells, vegetable and fruit peelings, and coffee grounds to your compost bin and the usual grass clippings and leaves. Don’t add any meat scraps, though, as this can attract animals to your compost bin.

With some routine turning and a little patience, you can have your own “homegrown” compost and all from a bin you built yourself!