Compost sifter

Expert How-to; Build a Compost Sifter – EASY

Why Build a Compost Sifter

I love compost! Well, what I actually love is what compost can do for my garden, but it can be a lot of work to create and maintain a good compost pile. One of the maintenance issues is in getting the composted stuff separated from the un or almost composted stuff in order to use it. That’s where a compost sifter comes in very handy!

I always have about 3-4 compost piles going, in various stages of decomposition and it is vital to turn and move them to keep the process going. We were in the process of digging, turning and moving when I realized that I definitely needed a sifter.

The Process

The process is honestly quite easy and it only took a few minutes to get it done. I’ll walk you through the steps and the basic supplies that you will need.

Step 1 – The Plan

The first thing you will need is a basic plan; where and how you will use your compost sifter. My husband recently bought me a very cool (and large) dumpcart and I wanted to be able to use it for moving my compost. So my plan was to build the frame to fit over my cart.

There are many ways you can do it. You could use one in conjunction with a wheel barrow. You could even build a freestanding model that you could pull a cart under. The main things to keep in mind is that you have to shovel the compost onto the sifter and catch whatever comes out.

I got the measurements of my cart and gave it just a little bit extra. Maybe 1 inch in each direction. I wanted it to fit snugly enough to stay put while I am working with it.

Step 2 – Start Building the Frame

The second step was constructing the basic frame. I cut the pieces of scrap lumber that we always have laying around to the designated dimensions and used an impact drill and 3 inch screws to put it together.

Step 3 – Attach Your Wire

Once the frame was securely put together, we started stapling the wire in place over it. Rabbit wire is really the best option here, but I only had a tiny bit left and I really didn’t want to go buy anything. So, I used a double layer of chicken wire and just offset the grids, creating smaller holes. We used a power stapler to fasten the wire.

Step 4 – Top Your Frame

With the wire in place, I measured and cut 4 pieces of 2×6 lumber to go over the top. I screwed it into the frame as well as attaching the pieces to each other to make sure they were very secure. For my purposes this accomplished 2 things. For one, it sandwiched the wire between frame and top boards and two, it offered a sturdy framework for the weight of the whole unit to sit atop my cart.

Now to Start Sifting!!

That is literally all there is to the construction of a basic compost sifter. We leave ours right next to the compost area so that it is always ready for use. I hope that this information is helpful to you! I’d love to hear about your sifting. What do you do to separate your composted materials? Have you built something similar?

Other Options

There are certainly more options out there and if you don’t have the time or tools necessary then you may want to have a look at them. Below are a few options.

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