What Type of Composting Is Best For You?

What Type of Composting Is Best For You?

Composting is a great way to turn your household waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer, but all the options available for composting can make it hard to know where to start. To help you decide which compost method is right for you, we put together this quick guide to the most common types of composting.

Compost Piles
Recycled Plastic Spin Bin Composter

Recycled Plastic Spin Bin Composter

Compost piles are the simplest way to compost. All you need to do is clear out an area in your yard and pile up your organic waste. You’ll want to start with a layer of twigs or branches to allow air flow around your pile, and you may need a tarp to maintain the proper moisture level. Compost piles are great if you have a large amount of yard waste to dispose of, especially if it won’t fit in any sort of compost container. Piles can be troublesome, however, if you plan to compost kitchen scraps, which are likely to attract scavengers like raccoons, deer, and dogs. It can also be difficult to maintain the high temperatures necessary for decomposition in smaller piles, so you may find your compost pile develops a strong odor. Some cities require compost piles be enclosed, so check in your area if you’re thinking of starting one in your yard.

Single unit compost bins

Single unit bins are the most basic type of yard compost container and are easy to use. Try to get a feel for how much organic waste your household produces so you can find a large enough bin such as our 50 gallon composter, and make sure the one you chose has a secure lid to fend off scavengers and ventilation holes to let oxygen in. Also look for bins with easy access so you’ll be able to add new waste and aerate when needed. Look for 100% recycled plastic compost bins that are made from recycled plastic.  Insulated compost bins are a great choice for extreme weather locations. Keep in mind, though, that adding new material regularly will cool the pile and slow down decomposition, which means it can take anywhere from 3 to 8 months to get finished compost. Single unit compost bins are perfect for households that generate a moderate amount of organic waste and don’t want to devote too much time to maintenance.

Spinning Compost Bin

Spinning Compost Bin

Multi-compartment compost bins

If you’re going to be adding waste to your compost bin regularly but don’t want to slow down the decomposition process, a multi-compartment compost bin is what you’re looking for. These bins are designed with separate compartments for compost in different stages of decay so you can compost in batches instead of adding as you go. This will allow your compost to decompose faster, and by the time you fill up the last compartment, the first one will be full of completed compost. If you have a lot of organic waste, you can also invest in several compost bins, which also allow you to compost in batches.

Tumbler bins

Like the name suggests, spinning compost bins can be spun to help quickly aerate compost and speed up decomposition. They can produce finished compost in a little as a month, but are usually smaller in size than regular compost bins and need to be spun frequently in order to work properly. Chose a tumbler bin if you need small batches of compost available fast.

Worm composting (or vermicomposting)
Vermicomposting DVD

Vermicomposting DVD

Using worms is another way to speed up the composting process. Worm composting requires a special bin with the right ventilation and bedding to keep the worms healthy and happy. Two great options are the cedar worm box and the worm wigwam. Be sure to use red worms (Eisenia foetida or Lumbricus rubellus) and not common garden worms, which won’t survive the high temperatures in a compost bin. Once the worms are in, you can add the same organic waste you would to any other compost bin, although worms sometimes to do better with a higher volume of green materials like vegetable peels. And as a bonus, the worms will do all the aerating for you, so there’s no need to worry about turning the compost. Worm composting a great way to get high quality compost quickly.

Kitchen Waste Composter Kit

Kitchen Waste Composter Kit

Indoor composting

If you don’t have access to an outdoor space, there are still options available to make composting easy for you, like the indoor kitchen composter. Because decomposition happens quickly, worm composting can be done indoors. There are also compost bins designed to be used inside. These bins will be smaller and will usually have filters to prevent odors.

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