Thursday, December 3, 2015

Garden Tip Thursday- Types of Composters

Okay so you have decided it is you New Years goal to start composting, I mean really why send all of that good stuff to the dump! It's free and it take a small amount of effort to create something you can really use! Now you need to decide what kind of composter will work best for you. Even if you don't garden, composting a good idea. Anytime something is kept out of the landfill it's a win, and I bet you know someone that would love to have it.

First you need to be realistic about your space availability, plenty of space, great! Only have a balcony or a small patio, that is still workable, no need to give up on your dream of having compost or a garden for that matter. Three 5 gallon buckets or a kitty litter pails will make a great composter for very small spaces. Drill small  holes into one of the buckets and then place it into the other bucket. The bottom bucket will act as collection for your run off and keep your balcony or patio clean. Put both buckets into the third, it's storage right now. After a week or so you can take the empty bottom bucket and dump the top bucket into it, instant aeration and mixing. Clean out your bottom bucket and place it back on the bottom for storage. You'll want to start with a layer of straw or leaves and then you can add your veggies.

If you are okay with worms, then think about a vermicomposting. That can be done small scale right in your kitchen or with a larger composter with layers. It's not as yucky as it sounds and works out great for you and the worms. Back in April I had a post about composting with worms, so you can get the details there. There are DIY options with bins and purchasable units that fit right into your landscape.
This is one we have and it expands, during the warmer months we add more trays when they are very active and take them out when the weather cools a bit.

Have a bit more space then try one of these options. Stationary or Tumbler. Still compact for those who might have a bit more room but don't have a ton of waste. We use these for house waste, well the stuff the chickens can't or shouldn't eat and we have a large free standing bin for yard and garden waste. 

This a a great free standing version, we had this over by the garden and this spring we thought we would move it over by the chicken coops, for convenience.  This one was easy to assemble, was a great price but is hard to stir, easy access to the bottom to take out compost, 

This our tumbling composter. They come in all different styles and sizes, best for homes with small amounts of compostable materials. Easy to use but more difficult to remove the compost once it's ready. You can see the small door on the top, drop in your wastes give it a good push, it rolls around on the base. Easy to hide in your landscaping if you are in an area that frowns upon things in the yard! Here's a great link to show you all of the choices in tumblers.

Of course if you have the area or have lots of waste there are always the large compost bins. Ours is just a three sided box made from old logs, we use it for limbs, garden wastes and grass clippings, with the occasional dump of chicken litter and horse manure. At our house this is a constantly growing pile. We built it up in the back and on the sides with a low front for easy of turning. Types of compost bins vary as widely as the people who make them. My father in law had one he made with chicken wire and tomato stakes. You are only limited by your imagination, just make sure it can breath, doesn't sit in water and can be stirred occasionally. Some are multiple bins so that waste can be turned into the next slot as it ages and new can be started, so you always have a pile in process. Rodale organic has a very easy to follow plan for a three bin here.

No matter what kind of compost you create or how you compost it, you'll still need to know what can and can not be composted. Check back next week and I'll have a great list and some ideas for you.
WE have lots going on this month, we'll be participating in a local Art walk as a Cider Stop as well as selling our Jams, so I've been working on the perfect cider recipe, and we've dug up some of our Jerusalem Artichokes and I've got some great ideas for that gardener on your Christmas list coming up. So check back and see what else is going on around Our Greene Acre!