February 26, 2010

Let the Composting Begin

I get excited about composting. There I've said it. I can almost hear my sister snickering, and I understand. She has been been witness to my utter nerdiness on many an occassion and been subjected to my exponential nerdiness during countless discussions where I proudly recite what I learned that day on NPR. I have been known to utter the sentence "Math is fun." I read Milton for fun. So she understands (though I am acutely aware that no one else will) why I got so excited when Mr. called me the other day from Costco. Guess what he found:

It's not a spaceship. It's a composter. For composting. And I am giddy. GIDDY. Last fall we were in Orlando and saw this very same one at Costco. (Yes, we frequent Costco. Yes, even on vacation. No, there is nothing wrong with that.) Well, we figured it would suck to try to get it on the plane so we passed it up figuring we could find it back home. Wrong. It was nowhere to be found. Until now. Why this composter? Well we tried to DIY it (big surprise) and the results were slightly less than disastrous.

Stuffing food scraps, leaves and grass in an old tupperware with holes drilled into the side does not a good composter make. Everything gets stuffed in there so tight it is impossible to turn or aerate. Not enough room to mix + not enough air to circulate = not enough compost = one unhappy gardener.  Mr. and I felt compelled to take it to the next level. Extreme composting if you will.

Our new composter can hold 80 gallons of 'black gold' goodness. Look at all that room!

After our little tupperware experiment we learned a few key things about composting that helped aid us in our hunt for the perfect composter:  
  • You need to be able to turn or tumble the compost really well in order to incorporate all the goodies and to aerate the mixture. 
    • Piled compost that isn't turned takes a year or longer to make finished compost.
    • Tumbled compost produces the finished product in as little as 3-4 weeks.
  • Heat accelerates the process.
  • Even a small garden (or small household) produces unreal amounts of garden waste, and a small tupperware will not contain it all.
I looked around for ideas to make a better DIY version and came up with some good options here and here and here. These plans, while good, did not quite fit the bill for us. We needed something that would fit in our small urban garden yet produce a large amount of compost (I love to garden). We also wanted something that had the ability to produce compost at a faster rate. Thus our store-bought (gasp!) compost tumbler. It's relatively compact so it fits neatly behind the garage and I have an immediate soft spot in my heart for this spacey looking thing.


Billie @ creekyhollowfarm said...

I haven't started composting yet, but I can't wait to start "recycling" our garden waste. It's the little things that count. And don't worry, my sister makes fun of me too...I think it's a sister thing. Have fun starting your black gold spaceship up :)

Pine Tree Home said...

I picked up one from Craigslist and am exciting to pack it this spring. We'll share stories.

Pine Tree Home said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danielle and Clint said...

We compost also!! Last years garden was outstanding ! I have to say though, your composter is way better than mine!

Mary said...

I've been dying to start composting but I'm still a little afraid of it (especially in regards to the smell, or if animals try to get to it). I'm probably just over thinking it!

Blondie's Journal said...

This really looks fabulous. I have always wanted to compost, especially to save on all the waste in the kitchen trash can and garbage disposal. Now, where do you put all that stuff before you bring it out to the martian~like composter? Is it smell proof? It sounds like you like it. How awesome!


Destination Seaborn said...

How awesome is this! I tried the tupperware composter last summer and failed miserably:(
That's a great compost bin. I would love to have one! Until then, I'll just admire yours. Happy composting! Lisa

Martha said...

Your garden show grow greatly with that lovely composter!


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