Garden composters are the most popular way that home gardeners use, to make
compost. This garden tool is popular, because it holds the materials in a
neat and tidy fashion,. And, materials in composters decompose faster, than
the more passive method of creating an often unsightly, pest ridden compost
Not all types of garden composters are created equal. Here are the basic
types of garden composters. Choose the one that best fits "you" and your
Many manufacturers claim their tumbling composter will decompose raw materials
in as little as 30 days. This is true...under ideal situations. The point
is, if you want to decompose raw materials quickly, a compost tumbler is
How they work: Load raw materials into the compost tumbler. Use a good mixture
of greens and browns. Every
day or two, turn or "tumble" the barrel. Handles on many models, makes
tumbling easy. Tumbling mixes the materials together, and provides aeration
for faster decomposition.
The best compost tumblers are twin barrel units. Material in one side can
be decomposing and finishing, while you are loading raw materials into
the other side. They are usually the larger models. And, they carry the highest
price. However, we feel this feature is well worth the extra cost.
A clean, empty 55 gallon drum is a good example of a compost barrel. The
barrels can be larger or smaller. The barrel should have a screen or a lid,
to keep pests out.
How they work: This is a passive method of composting. However, if you are
strong enough, you can put it on it's side and roll it to mix materials.
This should be done as often as possible. The compost needs air to decompose
properly. Remove the lid regularly. Or, poke small holes in the top and/or
sides. If you use a screen over the top, you will need to drain excess water
from the bottom after a rain. You can also poke small holes in the bottom
for drainage. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of plastic compost
Compost Bins - Plastic
The difference between plastic compost barrels and compost bins, is the shape.
Compost barrels are round. Plastic compost bins are rectangular. Often,
manufacturers have a door at the bottom. Raw materials is loaded at the top
of the bin. The compost at the bottom of the bin, has been decomposing longer.
You can open the door at the bottom, and remove finished compost. Unlike
barrels, it is impractical to roll the rectangular bins. So, this is largely
a passive process.
Compost Bins - Wire
A thick, heavy wire gauge compost bin is square or rectangular in shape.
Compost materials are open to the elements - air and water, aiding decomposition.
It usually has a top and a bottom, keeping large pests out. Smaller pests
and insects can get in and out.
How they work: Wire compost bins are a passive or partially passive process.
They neatly contain the compost materials. You can easily see how much the
materials have decomposed. To speed up the process, open the top and mix
the materials with a pitch fork.