Building a compost sifter

Composting has many benefits to home gardeners as we all know. Unfortunately, not all material that goes into the compost bin breaks down at the same rate of time. Therefore, we must separate the decomposed material from the larger material that isn’t through cooking. It could be quite time consuming to separate each material by hand. The process can be simplified with the use of a compost sifter. Making a compost sifter is a beginner level project. You just need some scrap wood, hardware cloth, and everyday tools. I found instructions from Lowe’s for building a homemade compost sifter with handles so that it sits astride the wheelbarrow. This also makes sifting even easier on the back, arms and shoulders. In fact we used some scrap wood we had left over from doing a fence. I think it cost us about $40.00 to make this project. We slightly adapted the project to our needs. But the instructions will point you in the right direction. The more scraps/hardware you have already on hand the cheaper the cost. If you need detailed instructions you can go the following website:

First we built a basic frame from 22 1/2″ 2×2 lumber. We glued/screwed it together.

Then we stapled 1/2″ hardware cloth to the frame wrapping the excess around the sides.

Then we screwed fence pickets we had left over, after cutting them down to the sides. We also glued and initially shot some nails in to the top to make it sturdy while we drilled the screwed in. Then we screwed the handles to the bottom of the frame which are 2-2×2’s 48″ in length.

And the fun part is shoveling the compost onto the hardware cloth. You hold onto 2 of the handles on one side of the wheelbarrow and slide the sifter back and forth. Very simple and not backbreaking in the least.

And just so you can see, here is the finished product. All the large stuff sifted out. I guess you could make your hardware cloth a smaller size. I felt 1/2 inch cloth was a good side. I’m not looking for perfection. Black gold!


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by OhioMom on June 10, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Love all the new blooms!

    How cool is that sifter? Hubby did a good job !


  2. Posted by Perennial Gardener on June 11, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Thanks Mom. He did a great job!


  3. Posted by Lucy on June 11, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Ya taking orders??? heeheee ! Great idea for a sifter!


  4. Posted by Perennial Gardener on June 11, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    LOL, no I don’t think we’re taking orders. I’m glad you liked the post. I love my new sifter. Talk about making easy work of the process. I must of sifted 3 1/2 wheelbarrow loads yesterday. And I still have a couple of loads left in the bin. I top dressed my new bed with it.


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