Home & Garden

Make a compost and soil sifter

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

Make a compost and soil sifter

You're ready to harvest the black gold that's been cooking in your compost pile, but -- mixed up with it -- there's still the odd cabbage heart, carrot and watermelon rind that haven't broken down yet. Inexpensive and easy-to-build, this sifter spans most wheelbarrows so you can set it on top, shovel in the compost, then shake it to winnow out the not-ready-for-prime-time bits while the lovely, crumbly compost piles up underneath. Plus, fitted with larger-grid wire, this sifter separates stones from soil.

Click to view larger image

You need:
• 2 pine 1x4*, each 4 ft long
• 2 pine 1x2*, each 4 ft long
• Piece of 1/4-in grid hardware cloth, 27-3/4 x 20-1/4 in
• 0.60 m 1/2-in diameter nylon rope
• 22 No. eight 2-1/2-in flathead wood screws
• Eight 3/4-in common nails
• Drill, 5/32-in bit for predrilling and 3/4-in spade bit
• Saw, screwdriver to fit wood screws, hammer and carpenter's square
• Fine-grit sandpaper and tack cloth
• Acrylic varnish or latex primer and paint, and brush or small roller

*Nominal sizes; actual dimensions will be somewhat smaller.

Cut list:
1x4s
• 2 pieces A, each 28 in long
• 2 pieces B, each 19 in long

1x2s
• 2 pieces AA, each 28 in long
• 2 pieces BB, each 19 in long

To make:
Note: Referring to diagram below, drill and assemble as shown.

1. Predrill holes in pieces A, AA and BB. Change to spade bit; drill each piece B.

2. Between side pieces A, screw each end piece B in place to make sieve top, using carpenter's square to ensure corners are perpendicular and pressing firmly on screwdriver to countersink screw heads slightly. Turn over, so bottom edges are up, on work surface. Centre hardware cloth on bottom edges; nail in place at each corner and at midpoint of each A, then approx 1 in (either way) from midpoint of each B, ensuring cloth is secure and taut.

3. With outside edges flush, screw 1 AA in place along 1 bottom edge, covering cut ends of hardware cloth; in same manner, screw on each BB, then remaining AA. Turn over.

4. Cut rope into 2 equal lengths. From outside, thread ends of 1 length through holes at 1 end of sieve; tie overhand knot in each rope end to secure. Repeat at other end.

5. Lightly sand wood, then wipe with tack cloth. Seal with varnish; let dry.

Design and diagram by Jon Gillette; photo by Geoff George

Find the essential gardening tools you need here!

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Make a compost and soil sifter

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