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How big a screen for sifting compost? Toplef10How big a screen for sifting compost? 1zd3ho10

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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

How big a screen for sifting compost? I22gcj10How big a screen for sifting compost? 14dhcg10

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How big a screen for sifting compost?

+10
mrwes40
floyd1440
Kelejan
yolos
boffer
CapeCoddess
Pepper
llama momma
moldeen85
toledobend
14 posters

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How big a screen for sifting compost? Empty How big a screen for sifting compost?

Post  toledobend 7/18/2012, 11:40 am

I want to make a screen to sift some of my compost.. What do you suggest, 1/2" or 1/4" metal hardware cloth, or use something else?
toledobend
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Post  moldeen85 7/18/2012, 11:47 am

My family and garden assistant all hated the 1/4" stuff. They said it was too small which made it more work. That being said, it depends on what you are trying to sift out. If you don't mind some chunkieness, go for the 1/2", if you want it really clean then I'd go the smaller. study Just my thoughts.

Good luck!
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Post  toledobend 7/18/2012, 11:50 am

Forgot to ask, do you just sift it or rub some through?
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Post  llama momma 7/18/2012, 12:33 pm

Hi
I've been using 1/2 inch hardware cloth. I cut a square piece and bent up each side a about 6 inches high to contain the compost as I sift and bounce it around a bit. I sit on a foot stool next to the compost pile and sift away, adding more with a trowel. I would not rub it in cause the big chunks are not ready. The big stuff gets thrown back to the compost heap to compost. The results are wonderful and seedlings can push through very easily. I read that compost continues to break down for up to 2 years, isn't that great how we keep adding after every harvested square, keeping the nutrition at an excellent level.
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Post  Pepper 7/18/2012, 12:38 pm

I built a screen using 1/2 hardware cloth(welded wire really). It was to large for my top soil so I built another screen that fits inside the other one. It is 1/4 inch now I can rub through either acording to what I need. Thought I had a picture but don't; will get and post later. The rig fits over my wheel barrow to catch the cleaned stuff. I yield to llama momma for use on compost. How big a screen for sifting compost? 3170584802
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Post  CapeCoddess 7/18/2012, 12:55 pm

I use milk crates that I fill up and shake over the wheel barrow. The squares in the crates are probably about an inch wide. Not the easiest method but it works perfectly and gives me a GREAT work out!

CC
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Post  boffer 7/18/2012, 1:49 pm

I screen with ½ inch hardware cloth for the initial fill of the boxes.

Then, I screen to ¼ inch for the compost I add for re-plentishing the squares.

The ½ inch gets sifted. The ¼ gets sifted, but if it's dampish, it needs to be rubbed.

The ¼ mainly screens out little pebbles.
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Post  yolos 7/18/2012, 3:24 pm

I use 1/4 inch hardware cloth wrapped around a frame made of 2"x2" wood. I can't stand having bigger pieces of compost in my way when I am planting seeds. I ususally just shake it into a wheel barrow. But my compost is usually moist so, if I have to, I rub it against the screen.
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Post  Kelejan 7/18/2012, 5:47 pm

boffer wrote:I screen with ½ inch hardware cloth for the initial fill of the boxes.

Then, I screen to ¼ inch for the compost I add for re-plentishing the squares.

The ½ inch gets sifted. The ¼ gets sifted, but if it's dampish, it needs to be rubbed.

The ¼ mainly screens out little pebbles.

I do the same. Works very well.
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Post  llama momma 7/18/2012, 5:55 pm

Ha! This is funny.
Just sift it already! Also, not everyone sifts either.
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Post  floyd1440 7/18/2012, 8:21 pm

yolos wrote:I use 1/4 inch hardware cloth wrapped around a frame made of 2"x2" wood. I can't stand having bigger pieces of compost in my way when I am planting seeds. I ususally just shake it into a wheel barrow. But my compost is usually moist so, if I have to, I rub it against the screen.

I made a screen made out of hardware cloth as well but do not know the size; hopefully it is 1/4 inch. Now I decided to design mine so the material sifted will fall into my wheel barrow as well. To date I have not have any finished compost so have not screened any yet.

Now I secured my mesh to my 2x2 fram with a stapling gun, do you think that will be strong enough?
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Post  yolos 7/18/2012, 8:54 pm

Now I secured my mesh to my 2x2 fram with a stapling gun, do you think that will be strong enough?.
Floyd - I also used a staple gun to attach my hardware cloth to the wooden frame. But with a heavy load of compost in the sifter, the staples started to come out. So I then used some brads (u shaped nails) to strengthen it anywhere the staples were coming out.
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Post  toledobend 7/19/2012, 3:45 pm

Thanks for the advice
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Post  boffer 7/19/2012, 4:14 pm

They make a U shaped staples for wire fencing that are pounded in with a hammer. Roofing nails (they have a wide head and are in the neighborhood of 1 inch long) are what I use.

I've also layed the hardware cloth on the bottom, then cut 1x2s to fit each side, and screwed them on. The edges of the cloth don't catch on things (like my bare hand) that way.
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Post  floyd1440 7/19/2012, 7:39 pm

boffer wrote:They make a U shaped staples for wire fencing that are pounded in with a hammer. Roofing nails (they have a wide head and are in the neighborhood of 1 inch long) are what I use.

I've also layed the hardware cloth on the bottom, then cut 1x2s to fit each side, and screwed them on. The edges of the cloth don't catch on things (like my bare hand) that way.

Checked my basement and found some decking screw 1 1/4 inches long and some washers as well which I may use, but I like the 1x2 pieces to brace the hardware cloth..I think it would last longer.
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Post  mrwes40 7/20/2012, 6:39 am

Here's a web link to the plans I used to make my compost screen/sifter.

http://www.nifty-stuff.com/compost-sifter-screen-sieve.php



http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/public_works/compost_screens.aspx
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Post  Roseinarosecity 7/20/2012, 5:47 pm

I like that sliding sifter! It seems easy enough to get one of my children to help me and not appear like it's work. My husband is finishing my sifter similiar to the first picture with handles, but it looks like he'll have to add the tray that straddles the wheelbarrow!

Thanks for the references.
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Post  CapeCoddess 7/20/2012, 7:27 pm

This is my sifter:

How big a screen for sifting compost? 100_1710

I fill it and shake it up and down, and side to side over the wheel barrow. rock on

CC
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Post  floyd1440 7/20/2012, 8:03 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:This is my sifter:

How big a screen for sifting compost? 100_1710

I fill it and shake it up and down, and side to side over the wheel barrow. rock on

CC

Now that is as simple yet efficient as it gets. Perhaps I am over thinking the screening process
thanks
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Post  mrwes40 7/21/2012, 5:20 am

@Rose

Don't forget to varnish the bottom and top frame, and rubbing the candle wax on the two. Makes operation much easier.

Bill
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Post  SwampCatNana 7/21/2012, 9:44 am

CapeCoddess wrote:This is my sifter:

How big a screen for sifting compost? 100_1710

I fill it and shake it up and down, and side to side over the wheel barrow. rock on

CC

Leave it to a New Englander to come up with a thrifty solution. I was just getting ready to buy the materials for a sifter when I came across this!
TY TY TY CC!!!
Now to find one! LOL Used to be able to find them everywhere.

BTW, CC - where on The Cape do you live? I may have asked this before but I have a sieve for a brain lately.
I have a former student who now is a librarian in Denis (?). I'll have to check.
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Post  RoOsTeR 7/21/2012, 10:19 am

I've used the milk crate method myself and if you want to break it down a little farther, you can cut some hardware cloth and push it down in the crate for even finer sifting.
I must confess however, I've pretty much stopped sifting my compost altogether. A couple of times in my laziness I just added unsifted compost to my beds. After a good watering or two, I noticed I couldn't tell a difference from the sifted stuff thinking I haven't sifted at all since.

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Post  Kelejan 7/21/2012, 3:16 pm

[quote="SwampCatNana"

BTW, CC - where on The Cape do you live? I may have asked this before but I have a sieve for a brain lately.
.[/quote]

1/4" or 1/2"?
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Post  floyd1440 7/21/2012, 8:02 pm

RoOsTeR wrote:I've used the milk crate method myself and if you want to break it down a little farther, you can cut some hardware cloth and push it down in the crate for even finer sifting.
I must confess however, I've pretty much stopped sifting my compost altogether. A couple of times in my laziness I just added unsifted compost to my beds. After a good watering or two, I noticed I couldn't tell a difference from the sifted stuff thinking I haven't sifted at all since.
Now I like that idea even better, just add it in as is kinda like mother nature would do.
So here is my question if I decided not to sift, would it be better to add it in the fall and let it break down in the garden during the winter?
thinking
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Post  Pepper 7/21/2012, 8:15 pm

FOR TOP SOIL here is what I made to fit my wheel barrow. I used 1/2 in hardware cloth, cut to fit inside the outer rails, stapled to hold in place covered w/ firing strips for a better hold screwed to frame for strength. Note the beveled cut at front of firing strips; I messed up on my measuring. The firing strips keep the rig from sliding off the sides of the barrow, the end 2x4's hold it in place front to rear. Note the handle at the rear of the screen edge, there is another in the front rail, makes it easier to handle esp emptying. How big a screen for sifting compost? P7213210
I found the 1/2 in too large for screening topsoil so I added another box that just fits inside the first one with 1/4 wire. It is built the same as the first How big a screen for sifting compost? P7213211
To use the smaller I place it inside the first(the screened material falls through the larger holes just fine with out any special aligning of the screens). The firing strips keep it raised so it pulls out easily to empty. How big a screen for sifting compost? P7213212
Of course it can be used seperatly.
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