Home composting is one of the most environmentally beneficial activities of modern society. Yard and food wastes make up approximately 30% of all waste in the US. Composting helps diverting a significant portion of your family’s waste stream from the landfill and water treatment facilities; it is a natural method of recycling organic materials into nutritious soil and its fun!!
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Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter (leaves, food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture. Worms and fungi further break up the material. Aerobic bacteria manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium. The ammonium is further converted by bacteria into plant-nourishing nitrites and nitrates through the process of nitrification.
Home composting is one of the most environmentally beneficial activities of modern society. Yard and food wastes make up approximately 30% of all waste in the US.
Composting helps diverting a significant portion of your family’s waste stream from the landfill and water treatment facilities; it is a natural method of recycling organic materials into nutritious soil. The composting process encourages the production of beneficial micro-organisms (mainly bacteria and fungi), which in return break down organic matter to create humus (a rich nutrient-filled material). It increases the nutrient content in soils and helps soils retain moisture.
Compost has also been shown to suppress plant diseases and pests, reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers, and promote higher yields of agricultural crops. Using compost can reduce the need for water, fertilizers and pesticides. It serves as a marketable commodity and is a low-cost alternative to standard landfill cover and artificial soil amendments. Composting also extends municipal landfill life by diverting organic materials from landfills and provides a less costly alternative to conventional methods of cleaning contaminated soil.
4 Key Elements to effective composting:
Food (compost material)
Good composting is a matter of providing the proper environmental conditions for microbial life. Compost is made by billion of microbes that digest the yard and kitchen wastes you provide for them. However, these living microbes need air, water, food and heat. As long as you maintain proper conditions your waste will quickly turn into compost.
AIR Composting microbes are aerobic (require air). When the compost heap is not turned or mixed the anaerobic (do not require air) microbes take over the pile and though they do cause slow decomposition, they also tend to smell like rotting garbage. This is one very good reason to mix your compost heap on regular basis.
Maintaining air passageways into the pile is essential to allow for proper airflow. The airflow passages can be opened by using a mixing tool for the bin style composters. When using a tumbler design composter the air is circulated through the heap through the mixing and turning action.
In addition, air passages can be created by adding straw or small wood chips that will not get matted down easily.
WATER - ideally your compost pile should be as moist as a damp towel to insure a good microbial habitat. If your pile is drier, composting will be slowed down. If the heap is to moist, the ingredients tend to mat down and exclude air, resulting in a slower and smellier process. When using dry ingredients, such as dry leaves or shredded paper, you will need to wet them as you are adding them to the pile. Moisture can be checked at any time, simply by turning the tumbler composter (in order to mix the pile). The best way to check on moisture content is to open the lid of the composter and touching the compost heap with your hand.
FOOD- In broad terms, there are two kinds of food that composting microbes need. Browns and greens. `Browns` are dry and dead plant materials such as straw, dry brown leaves, wood chips, paper bags or shredded cardboard. These are a source of energy for the composting microbes and help promote good aeration, but they tend to be dry, and so brown often need to be moistened before they are add into and composter.
`Greens` are fresh (and often green) plant material, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grinds and tea bags, green leaves and flowers. Greens are high in moisture and have more nitrogen in them, which is a critical source of protein for the microbes. A balance of browns and greens is crucial in creating a successful composting system.
HEAT - The temperature of your pile is an important factor for successful compost. As the microbes work on digesting the ingredients in the pile they release heat, the temperature of your pile is determined by the collective body heat releases from billions of microbes. Maintaining moisture, airflow and a good balance of ingredients along with the unique design and color of your composter will assure that the temperature of the pile stays ideal for the composting process. The rule of thumb is that the darker the color the more heat is attracted and therefore the hotter the heap and the faster the breakdown process will be. This is a general rule as too hot a heap could “burn out” and actually kill the microbes need for the breakdown process. It is strongly recommended that you purchase a compost thermometer. This is the easiest and most accurate way to make sure that your temperature is at the acceptable range.
Acceptable temperature for the inner core of the heap should be in the range of 120-150 degrees Fahrenheit. If the heap is less than 115 degrees Fahrenheit the process moves much slower, if the temperature is over 160 degrees the microbes will die.
A good balance of greens and browns has to be maintained in order to keep the composting process active and efficient.
Making great compost is much like making a cake. The ingredients and the amount of each are very important. Below is a general list of what to and not to put I you composter.
What to compost
What NOT to compost
Chemically treated wood products
Fruit and vegetable scraps
Coffee grounds and filters
Diseased plants, leaves and stem
Wood or bark larger than 2 “
Stale bread and cereal
Shredded cardboard and newspaper
Wood chips and sawdust
Dry brown leaves
Here are a few more tips to turn material inside your Composter into compost more quickly:
* Help start a new compost pile with a product like Compost Boost that will help "fire-up" the microbes responsible for breaking down organic matter into compost.
* Use a product like the ECO Kitchen Compost Collector in your kitchen. The built in carbon filter helps to keep odor down vs. a typical garbage bin. This will help limit the number of trips needed to the Composter.
* Use equal parts by volume of dry and green plant materials in the overall mix. When adding layers of fine green plant wastes such as grass clippings make sure you mix it with other material properly. Grass mats easily and prevents water from moving through the mass.
* Always make sure you leave enough empty space inside the Composter to allow the material to mix.
* Do not compost plants or materials that have been treated with non organic pesticides.
* Turn or mix the compost heap once a day. This will help introduce oxygen and speed up the composting process.
* Keep the Composter in the sun. Microbes are more active when warm.
* Plants lose between 50 and 75 percent of their volume in composting, so a lot of plant material can be processed effectively.
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Featuring an efficient drum design, the Compost Wizard 12 Cubic Ft. Compost Tumbler eliminates the need for strenuous churning. All you have to do is rotate the drum on its stand to quickly and easily mix your compost materials. Glide posts on the base allow the drum to rotate freely while keeping it in position, and recessed handles on the sides provide gripping points for easy turning.
Turn it about once a week to keep oxygen, nutrients, micro-organisms, and moisture evenly distributed throughout the developing batch. Within just weeks of accruing garden and kitchen waste, this compost bin will transform your scraps into valuable organic material.
This innovative compost bin is made of molded recycled polyethylene plastic and holds up to 12 cubic feet of material. The black color of the bin absorbs heat, which facilitates faster composting. The low-to-the-ground design and wide 16-inch twist-on lid allows you to load and unload material easily. The vented lid and end vents circulate air within the batch to accelerate rapid composting. The rotating drum can be removed from its base and rolled to any location for filling or dispensing. The Roto compost tumbler arrives fully assembled and is backed by a one-year manufacturing defect warranty.
Made of durable 100% recycled polyethylene plastic base
Black color absorbs heat for fast composting
Holds up to 12 cubic feet of compost
Rotates to mix compost - no strenuous stirring required
16-inch twist-off lid for easy access and security
Air vents create essential ventilation
Can be rolled to any location for filling or dispensing
Dimensions : 36L x 29W x 29H inches
Material: 100% Recycled Plastic Resin Bin
Brand: Good Ideas
In a world of plastic, here is an attractive, all natural composter that fits the look and garden function of any home. If you want to go GREEN, go WOOD! This environmentally spirited and simple composter can be left in its natural state, or can be stained or painted to match your house.
The wood has been through a special process called Torrification. By removing 100% of the moisture in a high heat chamber over time, the wood cannot peel, split or warp. More importantly, with no existing moisture and with the wood unable to deeply absorb surrounding moisture, mildew and insects cannot weaken the wood and begin to break it down for up to 20 years. The Canadian Spruce is a beautiful wood that ends up resembling cedar in both its amber coloring and ability to resist insects and mildew. There are NO CHEMICALS used in this process. Just heat & time.
The two piece lid allows you to add large piles at a time, or just small kitchen vegetable scraps. To maximize the composting process, consider using two or three of these units side by side. As you fill one, simply fill the second and third. Adding compost activator speeds up the process as well.
Canadian Spruce is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Keeps its beauty over time due to Torrification Process Wood lid it two part for easy addition of plant material Simple assembly with:
4 preassembled sides
2 lid pieces
Nuts and bolts connecting sides
Makes 90 gallons of compost
Weighs 35 lbs
Assembled Dimensions are 26"x26"x30"
Warranty; 2 years against manufacturer's defects
Made in Canada
Attractive and discreet, this is the perfect unit for optimal composting, featuring better ventilating design, and 4 exit doors. Heat from the sun is absorbed due to the dark color, and the air slots ensure sufficient ventilation to optimize the composting process. All four sides have sliding panels for easy removal of compost. Large 170 gallon capacity. Made from 100% recycled plastic resin. Easy to assemble with clear instructions supplied. Also includes a guide with useful tips for step by step composting. With a composter recycling does indeed start in your own backyard!
170 gallon capacity large enough for the average to larger garden. Tucked away in a corner of the garden with its discreet shape and color the Composter performs its useful task: composting vegetable fruit and garden waste. The suns heat is absorbed thanks to the dark color and the air slots ensure enough ventilation to optimize the composting process.
Quality German Engineering.
5 panels for easy assembly. Includes complete set of composting instructions. Removable access doors on all 4 sides. Easy access through the large hinged lid with a large handle . Comes without base for better drainage of excess liquids . Stable and solid with no small parts .
170 gal or 22.7 cu.ft. - 33" x 33" x 44" high
Gardeners have long understood the importance of composting. Composting provides a cheap and effective way to convert kitchen scraps and garden waste into food for microorganisms. They, in turn, enrich the soil with healthy nutrients which function as fertilizer for your plants and garden.