Can someone recommend an enclosed compost bin?

jewlz2121April 3, 2013

I am looking for a compost bin that is plastic and enclosed. This is my first time composting, so it also needs to be something easy to use and something I don't have to do much too. I'm not overly concerned with it being fast. It needs to have a bottom, or be able for me to add a wire bottom. My neighborhood has squirrels, rabbits, cats, deer, all of which appear to be on steroids and have eaten the sides of peoples home to get what they want. My other half refuses to have an open pile in the yard. Help me pick please?

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Even with your concerns about animals, you might not find a enclosed system any better than a open-type system.

I have large mesh bins made of 1/4 and 1/2 inch hardware cloth. Even though I occasionally put smelly fish into the center core, no problems with my dog or other animal have occurred. But I put the stuff in the core only when the core temp is 130F or higher. Once in the winter I found a family of mice inside the pile.

Problems develop when people do not understand the composting process. For example, smells can occur in either a open or closed system.

Suggest to your husband he design a secure 4 foot square or round system. Maybe two to three feet high. That way you can compost either cold or hot if you wish.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 4:53PM
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I know you said plastic, but, The Compost Tumbler, it's metal, it is pricey, about $400.00 or a bit more, is animal-proof. I have 2. If you have a Farm Supply store near you they may have a plastic rotating barrel composter. I would try Craigslist for used Compost Tumblers in your area. As I mentioned, I have 2 Compost Tumblers. Some Peeps don't like them but I like mine. I think animals would find it hard to get inside the barrels.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 3:23AM
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After trying more than 10 different plastic composters over the years, my feeling is that plastic bins just don't work that well. UNLESS the bin has good contact with the earth so worms and other composting microbes (that naturally occur in the soil) can help with the process. The bin that has produced good results for me is the Earth Machine (it's open at the bottom):
To help keep the rabbits, deer and cats out of my compost pile, I use a combination of citrus peels (chopped up) and coffee grounds. My open pile used to be a buffet for all the neighborhood creatures until I started covering the top with a thin layer of grounds/peels--whichever is available at the moment. You can pick up coffee grounds at Starbucks for free. That combination even works to deter my very spoiled chickens who love to fly into the compost pile for a snack!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 3:26AM
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A compost bin that will actually exclude squirrels, chipmonks, etc. will also be so tight that the bacteria digesting the material will not get enough air and the pile will go anaerobic and develop some pretty bad odors. To keep unwanted critters from digging around in your compost pile be sure that what attracts them, moslty kitchen waste, is well buried by materials they do not find very delectable, such as tree leaves.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 6:54AM
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Look on amazon, they have some nice tumblers.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Jewl, there are many choices of bins and composting systems. There is never just 'one' than would be perfect for everyone.

A lot depends on your yard, neighbors, local codes, ingredient resources, your physicial condition (age, bad back, etc.), how much you may wish to spend, even whether you fish (vermicomposting being an option), and so on. A tumbler probably would not be the best choice if you had two acres. If your number one, two and three concerns were animal pests and you had a 1/3 acre yard, maybe a tumbler would be an option. I personally do not care for tumblers, having used one for two years. I found it to be rather hard to use, producing small amounts of compost, and even hard on my back (in spite of the advertising).

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 12:29PM
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