In this Master Composter's opinion, a hardware cloth containment (bin) with 1/2" square openings is the best method for some people to compost.

A wire bin is inexpensive, easy to use and move and it is FULLY ADJUSTABLE to fit the volume of the pile. As you should be aware, biomass compression is a very important issue in composting. Basically, that term means that the compost pile material should always be at least 36" high, to take advantage of gravity. Compression of the biomass.

Has to do with flow of water and air; aggregation of the material and even spread of microbial populations as the organic MATERIAL is transformed into organic MATTER.

But that's a subject for deeper study at another time. At this point it's only important to recognize that the wire bin provides a dimension that no other type of bin does.

As compost material decomposes to become organic matter, the pile will shrink. So when the pile is turned, the wire bin is adjusted to smaller diameter - to compensate for the shrinkage - so the pile height remains at about 36+ inches.

I've seen batch method compost piles successfully aging that were only 12" in diameter and still 36" tall.

Sure, the wire bin provides lots more aeration. But compost piles do NOT need that kind of aeration. Actually, that much aeration is a negative, not a positive factor, unless the perimeter of the wire bin pile material is compacted to increase the insulation factor to keep the material inside the perimeter from drying out so quickly.

Typically, wire bin piles need to be watered more often than material in a solid-side containment. But that can be a very good thing for a gardener who collects/uses the compost tea leachate to nourish their plants.

Lots of times when I want more leachate tea for my plants, I simply water a pile until I collect the amount of tea that I want to apply. Go back to the pile after a couple of hours and put the remaining tea back onto the pile.

Wire bins should have a 1x2 piece of lumber (sometimes called a 'firring' strip stapled to the raw edge of the wire mesh, with a piece of 1/4" rope stapled to it to keep the wire mesh upright and to tie the stick to the mesh to retain it's desired shape.

I have photos of numerous bins and will post some here as soon as I get back to updating this section. In the meantime, if you want additional information about this subject, just send me a message using the Contact link and I'll get back to you as soon as is possible.

Click Here to see: Compost Containments
Click Here to see:COMPOST PILES