DIY Compost Sifter

So you’ve waited all winter for your compost to break down, and now it’s finally ready (or at least most of it is)!  But before you put that black gold in your garden, you need to sift out the un-decomposed parts – usually rocks, stray plastic, and some remaining browns.  That’s where your handy-dandy DIY sifter comes in, and here’s how to make it.

Step One: Amass your components.

You’ll need: 4 pieces of scrap wood at least 2’ long (I used old pieces of fence that I foraged in the alley), a saw, a hammer, wire cutters, sanding paper, long nails or screws, and ¼” hardware cloth.

Step Two: Cut your wood.

Saw the wood so that you have two pairs of same-length pieces.  All should be 2-3’ long so that once you hammer/screw them together, you can comfortably hold the rectangular sifter.  Larger sifters are for 2 people; smaller ones are just for you.

My trusty sidekick Steve demonstrating the satisfaction that comes from wood cut well.

Step 3: Make a box.

Connect the four pieces of wood into a box using your screws or nails. You may need to drill a hole first into both connecting wood pieces.

It should look like this when it’s done!

Step Four:  Attach the hardware cloth.

Stretch the hardware cloth on one side of your box, cut it to size with your wire cutters, and use nails to secure it in place.  A staple gun would work really well for this, but I didn’t have one, so I used small picture-hanging nails.  I hammered them about half-way into the wood and then bent them around, staple style.

If your wood frame is fairly large, you may need to use two layers of hardware cloth to cover the whole width.  I also used some yarn to weave together the two layers and reinforce the layered spot.

Step Five: Sift that Compost!

– Jackie


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