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Earth Machine and other composter recommendations

Posted by LumpySpaceKing none (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 15, 13 at 13:19

Well it was fun while it lasted but my dad was starting to despise the compost thing and had my pile and galvanized wire enclosure removed. He did not like how it looked and felt it would attract rodents but mostly...he just found it ugly and saw it as a pile of garbage rather than "black gold". So now im thinking of purchasing some type of compost bin. I realize they aren't as roomy but does anyone have any recommendations? Im looking at the Earth Machine. Might have to buy 2 or 3 of them due to the size.

Any other recommendations that may be better? What I've read on here about tumblers have already killed them for me.

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RE: Earth Machine and other composter recommendations

  • Posted by TXEB 9a (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 15, 13 at 17:16

Well, that's unfortunate.

The plastic bin composters are better than nothing, but the volume is pretty small, less than half a yard. Mixing in them is a real pain. But, they are good for maturing or curing compost that has been through a thermophilc cycle. I use a tumbler to do the initial work with food waste and ground wood chips. Then after about 4-6 weeks in the tumbler move the stuff to a Soil Saver Classic bin where it can cure for ~ 4 months. I use a tumbler because it is fast, easy, and I have to keep food things closed up because I have a real rodent issue (I live adjacent to 8 sq. miles of cattle pasture, so we have a a lot of rodents, along with snakes, hawks and owls that chase rodents).

If you have to go that route, the Soil Saver Classic comes cheaper and has a bit more capacity (get it at Amazon). Consider using a good size tumbler in front of the bin (I like this one).

Are rodents a real issue, or is it mostly neatness? Would something like this work? You supply the boards, any length up to 4', HD cedar fence pickets (the full 3/4" ones) should work well.

RE: Earth Machine and other composter recommendations

I tend an Earth Machine at a community garden and it is a pain to work with. I have to empty the entire unit in order to turn the compost. Maybe if you had two or three set up and could rotate compost between them.

I also have a tumbling unit which is much easier to handle. But still, two would be better than one. It seems to work best if I fill it up quickly then let it set for a while, turning it from time to time.

RE: Earth Machine and other composter recommendations

  • Posted by pt03 2b Southern Manitob (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 17, 13 at 11:40

I never really used my EM as a batch composter so I never had an issue mixing the materials. I used it as a continuous system just adding some new kitchen scraps mixed with with some browns and then covering with more browns. I also used a three tine pitchfork to mix up the top materials before I added the new stuff but that would normally only be the top few inches. It worked very well for how I used it.

I do recall many reviews complaining about not being able to snap the two pieces back together when they dismantled for turning. It turns out there used to be a warning not to unsnap the unit but I can't find that anymore. Don't dismantle the unit if you're pulling it off for re-piling.

I also did not like the pathetic screw doomahickies they provided to secure the unit to the ground.


RE: Earth Machine and other composter recommendations

The choice of a composter, bin, or composting system depends on a number of factors.

1) local regs
2) your neighbors and how you get along with them
3) your lot size
4) the choice and quantity of materials available for composting
5) your physicial condition and personality (for one thing are you a patient or impatient person?)
6) what you want to use the compost for (for example, most people who compost deer would use this compost for landscape, rather than gardening use).
7) are you a DIY person, or a go to the store and buy it person?
8) is appearance a factor? Some country folks will make a pallet bin, and other concerned with aethestics may spend a grand or two for a bench bin.
9) How much compost do you think you will need?
10) do you fish? (fisherman may be interested in vermi)

If you ask me which car to buy but give me no info such as how many are in the family or how far you drive -- I can't give you a good answer. I just tell you which car I like or drive.

RE: Earth Machine and other composter recommendations

  • Posted by corrine1 7b Pacific Northwest (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 5, 13 at 11:46

I have 2 Earth Machines that work slowly. If you stir it & keep it moist it speeds up. Otherwise it is super slow & you can harvest a small bucket out the bottom in the fall or spring depending on your climate.

What worked better was after bin filled we lifted off the plastic pieces & turned the pile well adding more water if needed & put it elsewhere in the garden as almost finished compost. Even better was combining both composter's contents with additional material to get a large pile going that I turned every few days for about 2 weeks, then let it sit awhile before spreading.

There are less expensive simple plastic bins, too. Maybe your city has a program with reduced priced ones or you can make your own with a garbage can to contain the scraps.

Another idea if you have a lot of vegetable & fruit waste you could have a contained worm bin. No rodents that way.

My dad used cottage stones as a base to increase the size of the composter & prevent rodents from digging in. It works well for him to empty in spring & fill in fall besides continually adding food waste.

RE: Earth Machine and other composter recommendations

I used to start my compost pile with only a circular wire fencing. Residing in a townhouse community presents verbal comments from one neighbor about seeing rodents. (I don't think so, neighbor).

So, this is what I been doing to avoid any alleged rodent sightings by my neighbor, who has a lawn and lovely flower gardens that she maintains to the point of discarding all yard refuse via our township program.

A few years ago, I purchased an Earth Machine via our county recycling program for a discount. I start filling it with the usual veggie/fruit wastes, used coffee grounds, egg shells, leaves (whole & mulched), paper (brown, usually) in layers until it's completely full.
Then, I pull off the whole EM container off the group with a small compost pile.

Next, I surround that small compost pile with a larger circular fence section, fill the inside perimeter with leaves (whole & mulched), brown rolls of paper towers and toilet paper, ripped up paper egg cartons.

So far, no rodent sightings have been reported. However, I don't believe there were any to begin with.

BTW, it can be difficult to connect the top and bottom sections of the EM. Just takes some persistence and patience.

RE: Earth Machine and other composter recommendations

  • Posted by corrine1 7b Pacific Northwest (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 6, 13 at 19:37

Maybe before you purchase let your father look at images on an internet search to be sure what you purchase or build is what he wants.

Maybe it would help to see how various composters are used in the city & what is recommended for yard or food waste from the City of Seattle, WA.

for yard waste:

I've seen these 2 composters at local yard sales for $5 or less.

Also check your local area craigslist for a used composter in the style desired. Earth machine is for sale on the Seattle Craigslist from 2 different sellers for under $25 right now. Cost prohibitive to ship.

Hope that helps...

Here is a link that might be useful: green cone for food waste

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