|Don's Home Home & Garden Composting|
Overview | How it works | What to do | Commercial Compositors
How it works:
There are two types of composting anaerobic (without air) and arobic (with air). Anaerobic composting requires an entirely different set of organisms and conditions than does aerobic composting. The anaerobic process, which is essentially putrefaction and produces a very acidic environment similar to that in the stomach. Hence the term "digester" used
Aerated Static Pile:
In MotherEarthNews tests, tumblers did not produce finished compost any faster than a well-managed compost bin or open pile.
Master Composter Barbara Conover says that unless you have a very large pile a bin works better.
Batch (In-vessel) Compositors:
In batch composting, you really need at least 2 bins so that one can be active (where you add new stuff) and one can be closed (where nothing new is added so it can finish decomposing). The one to the right has 'active' and 'finishing' bins and is good for small quantities.
Center-axle drums. A vertically mounted drum rotates around a central, horizontal axle supported by a wood, metal or PVC frame. Operation is generally easy, particularly with the models that have doors on both ends. The central axle acts to break up and mix the materials. Most of these tumblers are mounted low to the ground, however, so emptying them can be a chore unless you have a low-boy wheelbarrow that happens to fit under them.
Base rolling drums. A horizontally configured drum rolls on a ground-level base. Some of them actually have rollers, while others have molded rounded points to suspend the drum and let it rotate. Obviously, the tumblers with rollers are easier to turn. To help make rotating easier, several of this style have steps molded into the body, so you can use your feet and legs to turn them, thus theoretically easing back strain.
Composting with Worms:
We recommend using only raw fruit and vegetable scraps. Stay away from meats, oils and dairy products, which are more complex materials than fruits and vegetables. Thus, they take longer to break down and can attract pests. Cooked foods are often oily or buttery, which can also attract pests.
Avoid orange rinds and other citrus fruits, which are too acidic, and can attract fruit flies. Try to use a variety of materials. We have found the more vegetable matter, the better the worm bin. Stay away from onions and broccoli which tend to have a strong odor.
You should use red worms or red wigglers in the worm bin, which can be ordered from a worm farm and mailed to your school.
Liquid that comes off the bottom can be used, but check the difference between Leachate (the raw runoff) and worm tea (brewed with worm castings) at Leachate vs. Worm Compost Tea | Nature's Footprint.
Reviews of composters:
Compost Tumblers - Compare compost tumbler models
Testing Compost Tumblers - MOTHER EARTH NEWS
Compost Bins Reviewed
Inexpensive compost container
Composter Reviews for TOP 5 Composters | PeoplePoweredMachines.com
How to Build a Compost Bin | University of Missouri Extension
Compost Bins - Reviews at ConsumerSearch
[x, y] = User review x=score, y=reviewers
Amazon.com : Compost Starter 4
Amazon.com : Achla Designs CA-01 Compost Aerator
Urban Compost Tumbler. World's Best Composter for home composters.
Compost Tumbler, Compost Bins, Composters & Supplies | Gardener's Supply
GreenerChoices.org | Easy composting this fall