So you’ve decided to start making compost, and you know you need some sort of system or bin or something to make it in. Nowadays you have all sorts of choices, from bins to kitchen units, to worms.
But how to choose a garden composter?
Here are some tips.
How much space do you have?
Ideally, you would have room for more than one pile, bin, or tumbler. That way you can have one “cooking,”–making compost–while the other one is being built.
Manufacturers make compost tumblers and drums that have a small footprint but take advantage of vertical space. For example, some models are shaped like a whiskey barrel that is mounted on a frame. You throw materials in, then turn the barrel end over end to mix and get the decomposition going.
Other compost cans lie horizontally and rotate by spinning, either with a hand crank, or on rollers in the base. There are even spheres.
How much work do you want to do?
Next decide how much you want to maintain it. Some need to you turn the compost tumblers or barrels daily, or every time you add raw materials. If you choose a system that includes worms, you will need to be sure to continue to add raw material regularly, or your worms will die. Some bin systems need you to turn the pile occasionally, and some even come with a tool developed to make that process easier.
How easy do you want it to be?
Lastly, look at convenience. Do you want the hassle (or the fun) of building your own, possibly trying several designs until you come up with something that works for you? Or would you rather just buy something already tested and proven.
The design hassles have been taken care of when you purchase something already tried and true. Sure, you could play around with designs if you want, but look to the commercial system for ideas.
Features like adjustable lids for ventilation, covers to maintain heat in colder climates, and large doors for easy adding of raw materials make your job easier. Many products are made of plastic, which is lighter than wood, brick or stone. Many tumblers and bins have special access doors or compartments, so you can get to the finished compost easily. Otherwise, you’ll have to shovel through a large pile to get what you need.
Choose a composter for your garden or back yard and keep these tips in mind. Whether you go with a bin, tumbler, or something you design yourself, get busy and make some Nature’s Gold for yourself.