Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Compost Bin
Creating a home-grown, organic soil mixture is easy, and it can work wonders on your flower beds and vegetable or herb gardens.
Home gardeners love the earth-friendly notion of composting. There’s something magical about turning kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich organic material that just happens to grow healthier veggies and flowers. Gardeners tend to have their favorite methods of creating compost, but all of them have some way to contain the organic scraps and waste and to keep it aerated. While some prefer to build compost containment bins out of wood or woven wire, the commercial bins available today make composting easy. Here are three things to look for in choosing a composting bin for you.
The key to good compost is aeration, and commercial composting bins help you avoid having to turn over the material with a pitchfork or bore the pile with an aerating auger. They do this by offering a variety of tumbling or spinning options, some with internal baffling, that enhance the compost’s exposure to air. Some bins spin in a cradle and others rotate on a spindle. At least one variety spins end over end. Some will spin or tumble easier than others, so choose carefully.
In addition, consider ease of loading/unloading the bin. Finished compost ought to easily crumble out of an inverted bin. However, bins can get heavy and not all compost turns out crumbly. Some designs have two chambers, which can help in making smaller batches that finish at different times. Portability can also be a factor if you need to move the bin around.
It’s probably not possible to have a compost bin that’s too big, at least in terms of its internal capacity. You can make small amounts of compost easily in large containers, but if you have a lot of raw organic material you won’t be able to fit it all into a small bin, and the more you stuff it the less effective it will be in making true compost. It will still rot, and probably stink, but compost it will not be. When in doubt choose a larger bin.
Many commercial composting bins are made of plastic, often recycled, while other higher end models can be made of galvanized metal or steel. Avoid thin-walled, UV ray-susceptible plastics, especially with moving parts and stress points. You’ll pay more for bins that will last a lot longer but give you greater value.