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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Sifters or Trommels for Compost Toplef10Sifters or Trommels for Compost 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
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.

Sifters or Trommels for Compost I22gcj10Sifters or Trommels for Compost 14dhcg10

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Sifters or Trommels for Compost

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Sifters or Trommels for Compost Empty Sifters or Trommels for Compost

Post  sanderson 5/17/2022, 2:27 am

As many are finding out, some brands of compost need to be screened of wood pieces, bottle caps, and other debris unsuitable for our Mel's Mix.  Please post photos of your compost sifter if you would like to share.

I have the basic homemade style with 1/4" hardware cloth secured to a wood frame.  The smaller of the 2  fits over a cement pan, but I wanted something lighter and easier to handle.  Someone suggested this gold panning sifter pan that fits over a 5-gallon bucket.  I love you  I ordered it immediately, since my days of heavy lifting are done.

https://www.amazon.com/Classifier-Sifting-Panning-Gallon-Bucket/dp/B019U6DDS0/ref=sr_1_31?crid=22EYX8KQJXIIG&keywords=soil%20sifter%20for%205%20gallon%20bucket&qid=1652731187&s=lawn-garden&sprefix=soil%20sifter%2Clawngarden%2C152&sr=1-31&fbclid=IwAR0tft6mXtIvdZMDmQPKK2u72MhLZ6uvrEvoLrPXGzgPxFsnoWDoDt52rvc

Sifters or Trommels for Compost Compos59


Last edited by sanderson on 5/17/2022, 1:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Sifters or Trommels for Compost Empty Re: Sifters or Trommels for Compost

Post  Soose 5/17/2022, 10:07 am

That gold-sifting bucket top seems awfully small!  

I had a piece of screen cloth on a 2x4 frame, very crude, since my first attempt at a SFG in '81. (First book.)  It finally got disassembled this Spring.  Slow to use.  With the amount of MM we are using to set up the new garden, I knew we needed something better this time. 

Sifters or Trommels for Compost Img_2034Sifters or Trommels for Compost Img_2035

I found the DIY versions of "compost trommelers" online and other than gathering a few supplies - especially finding used old bike rims, removing the spokes, and steel-wooling the rust -- this was a good weekend investment of our time.  (The wire for the outer basket and the 1/4" hardware cloth was pricey, inflation...)   We can continue to use it, I'm sure, for many years.  I should probably go ahead and invest in a piece of 1/2" hardware cloth as well, for larger screening. (The inner basket is just clamped in.)

The "frame" is only two 2x6's with casters bolted on.  And set at a slight downward slope towards the reject side.   All the rest is just clamped and jury rigged into place for our huge operation making the MM in quantity.  So we only want to stow the two pieces of wood, and the wire basket. 

We did end up using various scrap pieces of metal to direct the compost, not in the photos.  We had to direct both the screened stuff down into the bin under, the bits of rocks that bounced back up toward the entry, and the flow of un-screened junk that came out the lower end.

There are somewhat smaller or simpler versions online.  If anyone wants a list of Youtube links, I have some saved.  After we'd already started ours, I found a shorter version -- maybe 24" long basket -- 24" wire would be a savings, and only two bike rims.  The man simply closed off the output end of the basket with a round piece of thin masonite.  The upper end of the basket is open for shoveling in or dumping in a basket of compost.  He rotates until he's happy with what he's screened, then lifts the basket off the casters, empties the unscreened rocks or large pieces, and begins again.  His basket is lighter weight, so it's not unwieldy, I'd think, to do that repeatedly.  I might have copied this design if I'd seen it earlier.  https://youtu.be/AS3sig0pP9Q?t=127
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Post  sanderson 5/17/2022, 2:08 pm

I changed the title of this thread to include trommels. The YouTube video Soose posted was short and sweet, just an example of a DIY trommel. https://youtu.be/AS3sig0pP9Q?t=127

Yes, the pan sifter is small but I can only carry/lift 2 gallons of compost. I use a kiddie sand bucket for scooping. Considering a year ago I lived on the sofa with a killer synovial cyst, I'm thankful I can tinker around the garden again. I would use the smaller of my wood frames over a wheel barrow or cement pan if I needed a lot of sifted compost.

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