If you’ve been thinking about getting a compost bin for your garden but really don’t know which type of bin is most suitable for your needs, this post will help you choose the type of compost bin, size, shape, durability, composting time and the functionality.
There are many different types of compost bins to choose from. The most popular compost bins fall under the categories of continuous, batch or indoor composters.
Continuous compost bins are suitable for accumulating kitchen waste, yard waste and even garden weeds. They are continuous in that you can add your waste at any time. Ready compost is found at the bottom of the bin and can be shovelled out several times a year.
Batch composters are for gardeners looking for a lot of compost in one go and are willing to put in plenty of time, effort and planning into the task. They require plenty of tumbling action with a balanced mix of initial ingredients that effectively compost over four-eight weeks.
Indoor compost bins on the other hand are for those who want to compost on small scale using kitchen waste and are suitable for work with potted plants and young people who have just started out on gardening.
The types of composters mentioned above can come in different shapes and styles, including compost bins, compost tumblers or kitchen composters.
Open bins can be easily made at home from say square shipping pallets or circular manufactured bins made from recycled plastics with in-built ventilation holes. With these, your compost can dry out fast during the dry season or get too wet during the rainy season.
Closed bins spare your compost from the changes in the elements and can be made from wood or manufactured. The advantage of closed over open bins is that they discourage pests and retain moisture. They are however more expensive. You can also choose between stationary or movable ones.
Movable bins allow you to regularly aerate and moisten your compost by lifting the container off the compost pile and shovelling the compost back in. They can be easily home made from wooden bins or manufactured with collapsible sides that give easy access to the compost. Stationary bins include concrete or wooden bin units that sit at one place for a given duration of time unless you exert time and effort to move them.
Having covered single unit bins, you can also opt for multi-bin systems that give you available compost for your garden at different stages of the composting process. As you gain more experience in gardening and expand your garden, such a system definitely comes in handy. For those with no access to outdoor composting space, this method can be utilised indoors with worms to hasten the composting process.
Tumblers generally have a rounded surface that allows rolling over the ground. If above the ground on a stand, a crank handle enables you to turn it. Smaller units that sit on concave pads on the ground can also be easily spun. With tumblers however, fresh, moist compost at times clumps together into a heavy, compacted ball that limits aeration. The good thing about them is that they come in various sizes allowing easy mixing and access to the compost.
With advancement in gardening, kitchen composters have also come in handy. Countertop crocks allow you to accumulate compost in small, countertop containers within easy reach of the food preparation area that can then be moved outside to your outdoor compost bin. Small, plastic food containers can also be used for the same purpose and odours can be naturally kept at bay by rubbing lemon juice, vinegar or baking soda in the collection containers.
Bokashi kitchen composting units utilise an inoculant (bokashi) of microorganisms that hasten the composting process anaerobically while keeping offensive odour at bay. Final decomposition has to however be done outdoors in a compost bin or burying it in soil.
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