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Lining for Wooden Bins. Also Snakes!


April 14, 2021

I am a Master Gardener (and a long time composter) and am assisting an Eagle Scout in Tucson who is building compost bins for a few community gardens in town. 

I found your page with the bin with the wooden sides and plastic lining. I am curious about the plastic lining – how does it hold up?  Also what do you think of plastic over hardware cloth (on the inside)? I noticed a suggestion of cardboard but I do not think that is a good long term suggestion.

Are there any other suggestions for successful bins in the desert? Or any other publications you can point me to?

Finally – snakes! One of the reasons I’m hoping to use hardware cloth is to keep these out. I had lots in my compost bin in NH but – no rattlers there. Thoughts?


Answer by JZ: Great to hear about your composting efforts.

a. A useful liner for a snug desert bin could be pond liner. I have been using a bin with same pond liner for over 5 years. Staple it to the inside walls of bin.   And/ or a good quality tarp may be used inside along the walls of the bin. Cardboard passes moisture outward, not the best liner in the desert.

b. A snugly built wooden bin is fine.  Low porosity tower bins are also useful.

c. At this moment I have few suggestions about snakes.  Underline the whole bin with 1/4″ hardware cloth, then bring up along all sides, then staple in place and / or Use an elevated tumbler bin.  Bang on the bin before opening to let snake know you are there.  It will leave quickly.

d. Desert composting bins: low porosity, ie. few holes at the bottom, place the bin in the shade, cover the inside top of the pile, inside the bin. I repurpose a piece of non porous plastic as a top drape – works well, then put lid on bin.

e. See Desert Composting under Composting Info in our site menu. All entries on this page will be useful.

f. You can use a tumbler bin (again, see Composting Info menu).

g.  Lining the double wooden bin with pond liner would be helpful for moisture preservation.

Let us know if you have questions.   Compost on !

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