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Hobby gardeners who know the basics of composting can optimally care for their plants, protect the environment and save a lot of money on expensive fertilizers. We show how you can build a compost sieve.

In a nutshell

  • Compost is a valuable source of nutrients
  • The formation of humus from plant waste takes ten to twelve months
  • Compost screen can be built from simple materials
  • in spring and autumn compost is brought to the beds


Hobby gardeners refer to the compost as the "gardener's gold" and that is no exaggeration. The starting material is plant residues. Prunings of trees and bushes, withered panicles of flowers, grass, leaves and fallen fruit develop into valuable humus on the compost heap. The process includes several phases. It lasts up to a year. When the compost is mature, it can be sieved and spread over the beds.

compost seven

build a compost sieve

In the following you will learn which materials you can use to build a suitable compost sieve in just a few steps. We have also prepared the instructions as a PDF for you to download free of charge.


  • four sturdy wooden slats for the frame, each 2.4 x 4 x 140 centimeters
  • four sturdy wooden slats, each 2.4 x 4.0 x 100 centimeters
  • two wooden slats for the supports, each 4.0 x 3.0 x 80 centimeters
  • 100 x 120 centimeters rabbit wire with a mesh size of about 19 millimeters
  • angle connector
  • wood screws
  • Roofing felt nails or staples
  • hinges

Notice: You build the compost sieve from two rectangular wooden frames between which a wire mesh is stretched.


  • jigsaw
  • cordless screwdriver
  • metal scissors
  • screw clamp
  • staple gun
  • drill
  • bits
  • folding rule
  • carpenter's pencil
  • sandpaper


  • Have the wooden slats cut to size at the hardware store or saw them to the desired length yourself.
  • Smooth the faces and edges with sandpaper.
  • Assemble two slats with a length of 100 centimeters and two slats with a length of 140 centimeters using the corner connectors to form a rectangle. Screw everything together with wood screws.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining four slats so that you have two frames.
  • Lay a frame on the ground and spread the rabbit screen on it.
  • Fasten the wire mesh to the wooden frame with roofing nails or staples. Alternatively, a tacker can make the job easier.
  • Remove the protruding lattice remnants with the metal scissors.
  • Place the second wooden frame on top of the first so that the attachment points of the grid are no longer visible and all the wooden slats lie exactly on top of each other.
  • Connect the two frames with wood screws. Fix the frames with screw clamps and use a cordless screwdriver to screw them together.
  • To ensure that your compost sieve can withstand high demands, attach the wood screws at a distance of twenty centimeters.
  1. Make the supports from the two remaining 80 centimeter long wooden slats.
  2. Attach a hinge to one end of each batten. Attach the hinge with one end to the batten and the other to the long sides of the compost screen.
  3. Check the folding direction and screw the hinge connection.

Notice: With the installation of a cross brace you give the soil sieve additional stability. Place a batten of wood across the trellis and secure the ends to the frame timbers with wood screws.

Heavy duty chains

If you have a large garden and produce a lot of compost, you should fix the supports with chains. The optimal chain length depends on the installation angle of the compost sieve. Measure the length and cut the metal chains with bolt cutters. Attach the chains to the supports and frame with screws.

frequently asked Questions

How do you know when the compost is ripe?

Compost applied too early can damage young plants in particular. The cress test helps to check ripeness.
Manual: Pour a layer of compost into a mason jar. Add cress seeds and slightly moisten the substrate. Seal the jar. If yellowish cotyledons and brownish roots appear, the compost is not yet ripe. However, if you can see strong, light cress roots and green cotyledons, the compost is ripe.

What angle is ideal for sifting through the compost?

Check the installation angle before installing the chains. In a very steep position, the composted material slides down the earth sieve. If the position is too flat, there is not enough space to collect the sifted compost. Try the best position when sieving.

Can you use used wooden slats to build a compost screen?

Yes, that is possible. Do-it-yourselfers often have suitable wooden slats in stock. You can also put old hinges and angles to new use. They're too good to throw away.

Can you also put a soil sieve on a wheelbarrow for sieving?

This is possible if you only need small amounts of compost. Sifting through the inclined compost sieve is easier and easier on the back.

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