Opinions of this composter?

lisa2004(NY Z5/6)January 25, 2011

At 5am, while we are being hit with yet another snow storm, I am up shopping for the perfect composter. I'm attempting to post a link so I can get a few opinions. It looks to me like you can continuously add kitchen scraps, etc to the top. This seems perfect... just wondering if anyone has experience with this type of system.

Here is a link that might be useful: people powered machines

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The twin 4 x 4 x 4 compost bins I built many years ago did not come close to costing me $249.00 and they produce much more compost then that 30 inch by 47 inch composter. 12 feet of 2 x 4 welded wire fence fabric will do the same thing for considerably less money.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 6:17AM
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lisa2004(NY Z5/6)

I'm sure there are much cheaper ways. As I said in a previous post, I have been wildly unsuccessful at composting. In the beginning of the season I'm always sure that I will make time to go out there with a shovel, hose, etc. Unfortunately it never happens. First, I know I put it too far from the house because I don't want an ugly chicken wire thing in the middle of my yard...and also because with all the weeding, planting, etc I just forget about it. SO...that's why I was looking at this composter. Anyway, I'm sure that you are right, there must be a better way.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 8:58AM
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I am mystified at how anyone can be "wildly unsuccessful at composting." Now & then I am up on a ladder, cleaning out our gutters, and I find finished compost, that has been generated with absolutely no effort on my part. I'm sure that it is equal to the compost that comes from our pile. I reviewed the "Earthmaker Aerobic Composter." It looks like something that would work fine. It has a small footprint, so it might look neater than our pile. But it won't handle several cubic yards of shredded maple tree leaves, so it would not be appropriate to our needs. The design has you putting raw materials into the top, and removing finished compost from the bottom, therefore, no turning required, a feature that I would appreciate.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 11:17AM
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Sorry Lisa, I do not own one or know of anyone who does so I am not able to give you any first hand knowledge/opinion.

However like eric, I looked at the product to see what may be some issues.

Volume: It claims 16.5 cubic feet, I'm going to guess that is overall volume of all three chambers. Now this might be sufficient for some and insufficient for others so the size may or may not be an issue. I like the idea of a multi-chamber unit and if one gets the technique down, it very well may compost fairly fast so that may compensate for the smallish size.

Cost: This is completely personal. I spend thousands on my composting and I could care less if some don't like it.

Robustness: I'm not sure how well it would hold up in a very cold climate. If the hinges are made of plastic I would not expect them to survive a winter. I also doubt that the unit would be usable in a cold climate due to freezing of the contents.

Methodology: I like the airflow capability if it actually is what it says it is. I like airflow.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 11:38AM
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Lisa, would a tumbler be better for you?
You could put it closer, & turn it on your way to the garden to weed, then add the weeds to it.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 12:22PM
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"I spend thousands on my composting..."

I always aim to spend nothing on composting.
That's why you have to love this place. Lots of variety.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 12:23PM
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The two below are my home made wooden one that I used free scrap pallets and have about $9.00 in and works great, its my dump and forget composter. The tumbler cost me about $250 and works OK, but 5 years in and i had to replace the tin which cost another $50-60. Plus it has to be turned every day.

The next two are my plastic bins, the square one cost me about $100 and the round one cost me about $15 from a garage sale. I like both but the square one holds more. I dont really turn mine (all the moldy bread keeps it burning)but just pull out the bottom twice a summer.

I am currently planning on making a fifth wooden one for cat litter only (now that they are going on wood pellets)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 12:42PM
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Hi Lisa! I have not tried the composter you posted, but, after much research, I determined that the Compost Wizard (I got the Jr. version) is the most reasonably priced, best rated, and most suitable for my needs. Like you, I want something attractive by the house for ease of composting, and I am going to make less-than-attractive piles out back (which is why the smaller size didn't bother me). I wish I could tell you that it works like a charm, but, also like you, I researched during the wintery storms and just received it a couple of weeks ago. This composter, along with the chipper recommended by composting wiz John Hughes (which I also bought just recently), should make that black gold we all crave in a jiffy!

Best of luck and happy composting! :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 3:57PM
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If you try chipping wood, post a message on the performance. It's the freight harbor $399 one?I need one that can cut 2 inch branches.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 12:41AM
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My first compost system: $65 Square plastic bin
My second compost system: $350 Tumbler
My third compost system: $20 DIY mesh bin

The third bin is by far the cheapest.

It is also:

Quickest to assemble (5 min. vs 2 hrs for tumbler)
Least hard to move.
Least hard on my back.
Requires least time per cubic foot of compost
Works best in winter.
Handles problematic ingredients like fish the best.

13' feet of hardware cloth 1/4" mesh, 24" wide, costs about twenty bucks.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 4:06PM
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Poaky1, you are right, I was referring to the $399 chipper from harbor freight (though I found a 15% off coupon code on line, so my price was $340), and I will let you know when I give it the 2" branches test. In the meantime, Jon (sorry I spelled your first name incorrectly before) Hughes or others may have done so and can report on success or failure with 2" branches with that machine?

And Robertz6, sounds like a good deal and great results! Can you tell us how you put it together (from a real novice standpoint)? I'm a composting newbie and have only begun to learn from the folks on this forum, but I'm hooked!!

Thanks all, and happy composting! :)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 9:03PM
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I'm sure lisa2004 is a fine composter.

What works best is what works for you. If the $250 job allows you to make compost without turning your life upside down then there's a lot to recommend.

Otherwise, I'm a cheap SOB.

Check out the link. It has a few bin ideas and just good basic compost info. Easy read and relevant.

Maybe some of the worm composters should chime in.

two cents

Here is a link that might be useful: Online Composting Center

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 3:04AM
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Hi frecklefeet,
I went out and took a pic of the one I used to use, it is actually cut in half (used to be four foot tall) but you can see how it works, you fill it up and let it do its thing, when you want to "turn" it,undo whatever clasps you use to hold it together and Viola, you have access to it, move it to the next spot and start refilling. ;-)

The second pic is just to show you a closer view, it is simply "hardware cloth" or "welded wire" or some refer to it as "Rabbit cage wire"

It works wonderfully, and is dirt cheap,just go to the hardware store,ask for one of the names above, buy 13' of it and create a circle with 3 clasps , and start filling it in.
The one I use now is much better, but it cost over a thousand bucks (and worth every nickle ;-)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 8:48PM
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Thanks so much, Jon! That looks easy breezy, especially now that I know what hardware cloth is! :) And those steaming piles are absolutely beautiful! Again, thanks for the advice and, as always, for the inspiration!!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 9:08AM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

I like that "welded wire" compost bin, I think it's just the ticket for the back corner where we want to "hide" a compost bin and protect it from critters that get into our yard.

Would it be a good idea to lay landscape fabric on the ground beneath it?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 10:55PM
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"Would it be a good idea to lay landscape fabric on the ground beneath it?"

It might hinder the worms from moving in and out of the pile a bit.

Don't think it would be sturdy enough to keep roots out.

If one lived in a dry and windy climate, it might be a good idea to wrap the SIDES in one or more layers of burlap or landscape fabric.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 2:28PM
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Just wanted to report re my relative success with the store bought composter below (Compost Wizard, Jr.) that I was so excited about and Robertz6's and Jon's suggestion to use a wire bin. While the store bought composter looks pretty snazzy, the other method blew it away on all fronts: in just three months from building the pile until harvest, I had about 40 gallons of finished compost (some needed to be put into another pile for further decomposition) and the structure cost me nothing (I was able to get the wire for free)! Additionally, I didn't even turn the pile, but instead poked a bamboo stick through it from time to time to give it air, which completely eliminated any back-breaking work. In contrast, while there was some production from the store bought option, it paled in comparison. So thanks Robertz6 and Jon for the fabulous suggestion and, because I'm such an elcheapo, my pocketbook thanks you too!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 5:56AM
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Earthworms, and other visible wee critters, are not significant enough digesters of the material put into a compost bin. in a properly constructed compost pile with just enough moisture there is not enough to provide the environment they need and as the bacteria that do the digesting generate heat the material will get too hot for them anyway. So it really makes no difference whether you put landscape fabric under your compost or not although it is not necessary to do that.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 6:22AM
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Many years ago, I purchased 50 feet of the 2" X 4" X 4 feet tall welded wire fencing for maybe $20. I cut it into five pieces, each ten feet long. They make rings that are exactly the right size for making compost, I can set them anywhere, for example right in the middle of a garden bed in the fall, I fill some with only my ground leaves and yard waste, and usually have one full of working compost, and others in stages. I fill them gradually, usually, putting a layer of the ground leaves, then dumping my kitchen compost bucket, and covering with a sprinkle of the leaves. If I get the urge to turn a pile, I just unlink the edge, pull the wire ring off, set it just beside the pile, and fork it over into the newly set ring. I made a very nice barrel composter last year, and there are things I like about it, but it doesn't come close to the ease, cost, effectiveness of the wire fencing I've been using for nearly 30 years.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 5:27PM
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