How to Build a DIY Compost Sieve aka Soil Sifter for $10

This is John Kohler with
in HD. I got another exciting episode for you guys. So as you guys know you got to saw
me setup my joraform JK400 composter. Let me go ahead and spin this guy real quick,
alright. Spin it right around the doors. I love this composter. I mean, it’s made out
of metal. It’s also insulated and you know, this model actually does get quite heavy to
spin if you got it full up like I do with all my yard waste and kitchen scraps. So for
that reason I might recommend the GK270 model which is a lot easier to spin especially if
you’re a young lady and, you know, you don’t have a lot of strength. This one definitely
is going to give you a workout, that’s how I build my muscles. I don’t go to gyms. I
spin my joraform composter. So anyways, this has been going for a little
over a month now. Go ahead and open this guy up and check it out what I got inside. Woo,
still warm. Look at that, man, rich, delicious compost to feed my garden. But the problem is there’s a lot of stuff
that’s down in here. But there’s also a lot of unbroken down pieces. What’s this, this
is maybe like … I don’t know a branch or twig. It actually just breaks apart. There’s
actually half of an Avocado pit. And this is one of my favorite things to do, take the
Avocado pit, up Hulk Hogan. Look at that, I could just squeeze it up, breaks into little
pieces here. I like to smell my compost too. Actually, did you know there’s actually components
in soil and compost that may make you feel better and yes, there’s research on that. But any case, my compost is done. I need to
basically sift it out to basically get all the finished compost but not all the big pieces
because I don’t want to put big, you know, mango pits in my soil or what not to continue
to break down. I want to put that back in the composter with a new batch that’s going
to be going in real soon. So what today’s episode, is going to be about
how to build a pretty easy compost sifter that’s going to fit on top of your wheelbarrow.
And this is my personal design, and actually another secret on how to sift without building
a sifter at the end. So let’s go over and show you some of the
parts that I’ve pre-cut and have all ready to go and we’re just going to assemble it
and we’ll sift some compost before this video is over. Alright, so now I’m all sit up in the workshop,
actually the backyard to make my little compost sifter. Super easy, anybody could do this
with some parts available at your local, you know, big box home improvement store. So what you’ll need is just basically just
a few simple things. Number one, you’re going to need to buy some 2 by 4’s here. We got
a 2 by 4 and basically I cut 2 of them to 4 feet long. Next we have 2 pieces cut to
21 in an 8 inches long and this is actually going to be in between. So on the 2 by 4’s
is I found that by buying two 8 footers that will work about $5 approximately. Next, I have to buy a 1 piece of the 8 foot
1 by 2 and this is just some cheap 1 by 2. This is like about a buck. So that 1 piece
I cut it into two 24 inch pieces and then I cut another 2 pieces into like 21 and a
quarter. So that’s going to make the frame of the compost sifter adn then finally you
just need the hardware cloth. If you guys could see that, verify, I’m going to turn
it into an angle there maybe. This is basically a 2 foot square. So I got
a 2 foot by a 10 foot roll. I found the least expensive place to buy this locally was a
local Lowe store, when people had it. But they’re actually more expensive. So I got
… it was about 13 bucks and I just use 2 feet for this project and I’ll have a whole
bunch more leftover for later. Besides these parts, you know, I’m also going
to use some screws. I like the Dex screws, they’re fairly heavy duty and fairly long
ones, and you know, besides that I’ll need my cordless drill to pre-drill some holes
and also to screw the screws in. Also a clamp, a tape measure, and drill bit and some, you
know screwdriver bits for the drill. I mean that’s pretty much all there is to it. Next, I’ll go ahead and set this up so you
guys could see what it’s actually going to look like. Then I’ll start screwing it together
and I like screwing things together and then we’ll be done and then we’re going to actually
sift some compost. So next let me go ahead and show you guys
how this is going to go together. Basically what we’re going to do is we’re going to take
our 2 long 4 foot layers here. I’m just going to lay that out. We’re going to lay those
guys side by side, about you know, 2 feet apart. Next, we’re going to take our 2 by 4’s here
that are 21 inches and we’re going to sit it approximately 1 foot in from either side. Next, you’re going to take your two 2 by 4’s
that are 21 inches long and then put them in between there. I’m leaving about a foot
on either end. This is going to give you a nice place to hold the sifter. Then you’re
going to want to go ahead and of course screw these together very well. Then we’re going to go ahead and take our
wire mesh hardware cloth here. Once again I got the quarter inch spacing. They do come
in half inch spacing. But I wanted a nice fine spacing to have good, you know, compost
in there. And once we got that we’re going to take the
last 1 by 2’s and put it on top. This is actually going to frame it in, hold this down more
securely, but also make it so that it actually stay in the wheelbarrow fairly well. Next, we’re going to take our 1 by 1’s, these
are the 24 inch pieces. We’re going to put them running this direction on top of our
hardware cloth over that 21 inch 2 by 4 to cover that up. Then we’re going to do the same with the other
one over on this side. Finally our 21 inch pieces are going to go right in here to completely
frame in our hardware cloth just like so. And now all you need to do is actually screw
this together. Put some screws in here to screw them to the 2 by 4’s here. There’s going
to be a couple along here as well. And basically that will make you an easy compost sifter. So, you know, one of the things that you could
do is, you know, about specific directions or you’re just going to screw this guy in
first to have your frame, then this point if you do have a staple gun, you could just
go ahead and staple this in or hold it in place. I actually don’t have one handy. So
we’re just going to go ahead and put this on. We’re just going to go ahead and put these
guys on and then I’m just going to clamp this down to hold this down and then I’m going
to screw it in, and the screws alone should be enough to hold the hardware cloth in place.
So I mean, this is a pretty easy assembly. So next I’m going to go ahead and do it. So I got that compost sifter all built. And
before I show you guys how to use it and how it works and why I designed it the way I did,
got to get some compost out of my drawer form composter to sift. So one of the questions that you might be
wondering is, “John, how do I know if I compost is ready, man?” I mean, it’s all sitting here
looking like this for a long time, man. You know, you might be like, “Oh, it’s not ready,
there’s still pieces left.” Well, that’s why I made the sifter so I could sift out the
stuff that’s ready and the stuff that’s not ready, guess what? I’ll throw it back in there
with some new materials to get it to break down further into this fine compost that I
want to use. So first we need to empty out the drawer.
You could just basically tip it and put a wheelbarrow underneath it, but then that will
fill up my wheelbarrow. So what I’m going to do is very simple, I’m just going to go
ahead and use a little bucket and this is actually Scoop Away bucket that my brother
gave me when he had a got. And now this bucket is lost. I always encourage
you guys to reuse and save 5 gallon buckets. Another buckets around the garden, they come
in very handy. Be sure to check my old videos, like back in the olden days, and it’s only
10 minutes long because I couldn’t make videos longer than that. And many uses for a 5 gallon
bucket on the garden. I had quite a fun time making that video. Anyways, we’re going to go ahead and stick
this bucket in there, it fits right in. And we’re going to scoop up the compost in the
bucket here. There are few things you want to look for
when, you know, taking out your compost. You want to make sure it looks done so, you know,
this one looks kind of like some coffee grounds, you know, after you’re done brewing a coffee.
And it’s not too wet but not too dry, and then that’s one way to tell. The other way
is to smell it, should have a nice neutral flavor. If it smells like funky or something,
it’s probably not ready, not right. The other thing is it shouldn’t be too hot. You could
stick your hand in there and it’s warm to touch, you know, it’s probably alright, ready
to go. If it’s really hot, especially in the drawer, not right, not ready to go. This is just warm to touch and so we should
be good, as you could see, got a whole bucket full here, might top off my bucket with a
shovel. And then actually I’ll show you how to use that compost sifter that I made. Alright, so here’s the sifter that I made.
As you could see, I love it when a plan comes together. And it’s basically 2 foot by 2 foot.
And I plan this to have, you know, 1 foot on each end, so you could kind of hold it
by the end, carry it, or use it with 2 people. One person could have each side and shake
it back and forth. But I kind of made it, you know, so one person
like myself could use it and here’s how it turned out. We put a bunch of screws on the
bottom, basically to frame it in, to frame in the bottom mesh here. And I didn’t frame
it in all the way down. That’s for a very important reason. This is my wheelbarrow here
and what will happen is this is will fit inside the wheelbarrow like this, and because I didn’t
make it longer, I could actually rock it back and forth in the wheelbarrow itself, you know,
so I got a good 68 inches. So if I’m just using it by myself, I could
put the load in there and just rock it back and forth, just like this, some people make
an additional frame. But I figured I’d use the wheelbarrow to do that and the bottom
framing that sticks down actually stops so I can’t go too far. So, let’s go ahead and
demonstrate the use of my new compost sifter. Alright, let’s go ahead and take the compost
that I made. My own compost, we’re just going to pour it in the sifter right here. And this
is probably about enough for a bucket’s worth. I’d probably empty this whole bucket in my
sifter here, fresh compost, nothing better. And I’m just going to rock it back and forth. Alright, looks like it’s working real good
and check it out we got all the big particles left on top, and we got all the fine stuff
came right through. So literally, this compost sifter is working
real good. Once again I did use the quarter inch screen, you know, otherwise it would
leave large fragment through. This is working quite good. Let’s see, some of the things
that are not composting, there’s some of the organic stickers that we’re going to go ahead
and pull those out, not put those back through the compost process. Looks like some of the little plastic from
the Bananas that come on the Bananas, did not get composted. Some of the sticks in here,
you know, some Mango seeds, some Avocado pits, some of the main things that I’m seeing. We’re going to ahead and pull out a lot of
the plastic and some of the other stuff that didn’t get composted. And we’re just going
to go ahead and let it re-compost. And I’m going to go ahead and sift more of my own
compost. Once again I made this compost sifter for
under $10. I mean, the 2 by 4 is going to be like 5 bucks. I got a 1 by 2 about a dollar.
And a few bucks for the grate. A few bucks in screws. And man, you’re all sifting your
compost for under 10 bucks by itself. This is definitely a cool tool. Probably the
next thing I’m going to do is probably going to coat the wood with a non-toxic coating
stain so that it will protect it plus it will look a lot sharper and you’ll be sure to see
that in the next video. Now if you’re not able to afford $10 to make
your own sifter like this, which is really cool, make it super simple, super easy, I’m
going to show you guys another way to sift some compost. Alright, so I got my rich compost here that
I made and strained out with my sifter. But another cheap and inexpensive way to do it,
if you don’t have a sifter like I just built and I figure this out the other day before
I built my sifter I’m like, “Man, I need to sift some compost because I’m making a nice
soil mixture. How could I sift it?” Well, you guys have seen this on a previous episode.
I used these guys actually to protect my tree collards from birds getting them, but guess
what? This is a nice big, large bag. You know, these are like … My Coconuts came
in these, but they ship like Potatoes and Onions in these bags sometimes. Ask your local
produce manager at the store for these guys, because sometimes they’ll just rip the bags
open, get the Onions and put them on for selling, they just throw these away. But these are very valuable. They could be
used for hard materials. They could be used to protect your plants from birds. And they
could also be used to sift your compost. So let’s go ahead and do that. What we’re going to do is we’re going to take
… once again I got a bucket of compost. We’re going to go ahead and put this over
the bucket. We’re going to then tip the bucket upside down like this to put the … get all
the compost inside it. We’re going to then remove the bucket. I’m then going to go ahead
and hold this shut and we’re going to grab the other side of this, and check this out.
I just rock this back and forth. And yes, this is a little bit messier than
the sifter I made, but hey, this is free literally. This is going to be some garbage. It’s, you
know, repurposing something instead of having it go to the landfill. And check it out, it
works great. It’s just a bit slower doing it this way, but it’s kind of fun. So now you guys have learned 2 ways to sift
your compost for under 10 bucks. This one is free, the other one cost me 10 bucks, you
know, and some time and if you’re not so handy with the saw and whatnot, I want to remind
you guys that if you go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and other major hardware stores, they may
cut the wood for you for free if you buy it there at no cost. You could literally go in there, have them
cut the wood for you, come home, and … Some better hardware stores will actually sell
the hardware cloth by a foot. You could get that by the foot. Come home, build your own
compost sifter so that you can enrich your garden with your own home grown compost, because
buying compost by the bag can definitely get expensive. Hope you guys enjoyed this episode learning
how to make a compost sifter. Once again my name is John Kohler with
We’ll see you next time and remember, keep on sifting.

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