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Soil and Composting: composters

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 16, Views: 263
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Tina_A
Caddo Mills, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 27, 2009
11:02 AM

Post #6196680

I want to buy a composter,but there are so many on the market and I have no idea which ones work and which are not good quality. So Im asking which composters do you all have and like. Thanks Tina
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

February 27, 2009
8:32 PM

Post #6198833

I like mine a lot. It's a SoilSaver Classic squirreled away discreetly so my neighbors won't complain. Then again, I live in a new suburban development with closely-spaced homes on small lots. In this pic, my composter is tucked behind my grill: http://www.flickr.com/photos/akonsen/3033799950/in/set-72157609165536805/

So far, I've also gotten away with a small pile on one side of my house where that neighbor has few windows. Time will tell if I can keep getting away with it. http://brainshavings.com/gardening

What's your situation? How much space do you have, what raw materials will you have available, how sunny is your lot, & how much compost do you want to make?

This message was edited Feb 27, 2009 3:44 PM

This message was edited Mar 2, 2009 10:16 AM
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

February 27, 2009
10:28 PM

Post #6199288

Tina, this is a perennially (LOL) interesting question here on the Soil-composting forum. I am a fan of the Smith and Hawken BioStack, which is durable, neat, and easy to use (e.g., toss.) In fact, I have invested in three over the years. Below is a site on "epinions" that gives a good overview.
Attached is a photo of my BioStacks, taken last October. Note that you can stack up the tiers to make a taller pile, which I have done on the left of the photo. The two garbage cans are full of finished compost. (Forgive brazen bragging.)

http://www.epinions.com/review/Bio_Activator_Stacking_System/content_173419957892

Thumbnail by CapeCodGardener
Click the image for an enlarged view.

kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

February 28, 2009
2:50 AM

Post #6200299

I also use Biostacks- 2 of them. I'd recommend them highly.

Karen

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Click the image for an enlarged view.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

February 28, 2009
7:18 PM

Post #6202721

BioStack sounds and looks best from what I've been reading here, used as two piles that you turn from one to the other at times. I don't have one but can see the way users talk about them here makes sense. Great that you can make one even taller.

But along with buying a composter I think you'll be most satisfied if you really understand how compost happens and doesn't happen. No composter will make perfect fluffy brown compost with no effort.
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

February 28, 2009
7:42 PM

Post #6202828

Tina, your question is a recurring one. I've looked through some older threads comparing different compost bins and tagged them so they're easier to find.

http://davesgarden.com/tools/tags/tag.php?tag=compost bin comparison

As relevant stuff keeps turning up, I'll tag those pages too. Hopefully it'll help you make a more informed decision.
stetchworth
Ocean Springs, MS
(Zone 8b)

March 1, 2009
12:26 PM

Post #6205509

I also recommend the Biostacks, I have two of them.
shuggins
Houston, TX
(Zone 9b)

March 2, 2009
1:40 PM

Post #6210296

puddlepirate...The SoilSaver Classic is open on the bottom, right? How long does it typically take for your composter to make compost? Do you open the lid and just mix it or just let it bake on its own? They have that composter at Sam's Club right now and I am considering it for my first. I like the compact size. Thanks!
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 2, 2009
3:30 PM

Post #6210831

It's open on the bottom, and it has doors down at ground level so you can pull out the finished compost. I have been adding browns and greens as I get them, and I mix/aerate the pile about once a week when it's above freezing at night. I haven't messed with it since December, but the weather will warm up enough in ~3 weeks to start stirring the contents again.

I haven't kept track of how long it's taken to cook down to finished compost. That's mainly because my crappy clay soil needs all the organic matter I can find, so I often just lift the bottom door (to see if the contents look and smell mostly done) and take what I need. I'm told that if I were more "hands-on", the SoilSaver would give me finished compost in ~6 weeks.

I also have an open pile beside my house, so once it finishes I'll have enough compost to allow my upcoming spring batch to cook completely in the SoilSaver
shuggins
Houston, TX
(Zone 9b)

March 2, 2009
5:35 PM

Post #6211424

Thanks for the info. I think it will meet my initial needs and the price is certainly right, so I think I may give it a try. If I find I need something larger, I can always get an additional one or buy a larger composter.
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 2, 2009
6:36 PM

Post #6211667

What's the price they're asking for?
shuggins
Houston, TX
(Zone 9b)

March 2, 2009
7:46 PM

Post #6211955

$40 plus tax.
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 2, 2009
8:56 PM

Post #6212259

Beats my deal. Mine cost me $63 a year ago.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

March 3, 2009
1:16 AM

Post #6213655

Quoting: quoting PP I'm told that if I were more "hands-on", the SoilSaver would give me finished compost in ~6 weeks.
You don't really believe that do ya??
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 3, 2009
4:01 AM

Post #6214426

I'll believe it when I see it. Which isn't going to happen with mine, because I have more important things to do than primping my compost.
Tina_A
Caddo Mills, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 3, 2009
11:12 AM

Post #6215117

Thanks everyone. I actually bought 2. I got the biostack and I also bought a worm composter from the worm dude. Hopefully I will be happy with both of them.
sawpalm
Winston Salem, NC

March 26, 2009
1:55 PM

Post #6321934

I just added my two bits to another post and mentioned Soil Saver and Bio Stack as my favorites, so I concur with suggestions above.

I worked for the Brooklyn Composting program for 15 years and we tested many bins. We did not like the tumblers but the two mentioned here were the best in our testing.

Subsidies from the NYC Dept. of Sanitation allowed us to make the Soil Saver available to the public for a discount and we would sell hundreds for $20 each and they normally sold for around $60 (Bio Stack is more expensive). Another recommendation is to get the LoTech compost crank. In my opinion, it's the greatest asset to easy composting and saves your back. Check out http://www.lotech.com

The book Easy Composting (www.bbg.org) is a great resource.

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