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Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

Posted by pkapeckopickldpepprz z9 a/b FL (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 23, 08 at 23:24

Saw it there when I just by chance went down the garden aisle (which I never do there). I saw the price at $39.99 so I was intrigued. I figured it qould be $139 considering real Bio Stacks could not be found for under $100 at Smith and Hawkin stores. Well it doesn't actually stack but there are doors on the bottom that open but the shape surely resembles a Bio Stack. Looks nicer than the Earth Machines I have and were cheaper even though I got my EMs from the county extension but in Charlotte County and I live in Sarasota County. In any event I will set it up over Christmas and report back how good this thing is. For $39.99 it seems like a steal.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

I picked up a Bio-Stack from Lowes this past summer. They had one that had been lost in the overstock area for a couple years. $10. It looks just like this one.

I've used it since June. I love it.


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

pepperz: What you describe doesn't sound even remotely similar to a biostack. A biostack consists of 3 stacking, bottomless tiers. It has no door.

There are many, many, compost bins on the market that are a big square where you put new material in the top and theoretically remove finished compost from a door at the bottom. I had one like that for probably 20 years.

Karen


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

If this is the bin I just saw on walmart.com it is even made in the US. Even better since it's not made in and shipped from China. I have issues with walmart, but I also have issues with companies that are taking advantage of the "green market" and charging exorbitant prices because they know the emotion of saving the planet will encourage people to spend more than they would under less guilt driven circumstances. They have more interest in exploiting green people than they do in supporting them. Good find, you who should shorten your name. And you're right. It looks like the biostack.


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

I just checked the box and it is a Soil Saver compost bin. Checking the name online it brought me to Planet Natural and they sell it for $114!!!! I do remember contemplating buying one from there at that price since I wasn't able to find an actual Bio-Stack, and I stand by my affirmations that this thing DOES look a lot like a Bio Stack.

http://www.planetnatural.com/cgi-bin/planetnatural/soil-saver-composter


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack33

I just checked the box and it is a Soil Saver compost bin. Checking the name online it brought me to Planet Natural and they sell it for $114!!!! I do remember contemplating buying one from there at that price since I wasn't able to find an actual Bio-Stack, and I stand by my affirmations that this thing DOES look a lot like a Bio Stack.

http://www.planetnatural.com/cgi-bin/planetnatural/soil-saver-composter


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack545

It is Made in Canada or at least the company is from Canada. I will repeat they are selling this for $39.99!!!! Where has this been for the last ten years when I was looking for suitable compost bins that weren't $100-$200??? Heck I think the Earth Machines I bought were $38 or $48 + TAX, yes they charged m,e tax at the county extension can you believe that???? Plus I had to drive 40 miles to get them... There is a "green environmental" house called the "Sarasota House" here in Sarasota and they show a Bio-Stack or a Garden Gourmet, or this Soil Saver (they all look very similar to me) but try to find one of these compost bins in Sarasota and you get looked at like you are an alien... I even tried to guilt the Sarasota extension office into carrying the Bio-Stacks or Garden Gourmets instead of those flimsy plastic hoop style bins.


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

I bought one similar to that at our Home Depot about 20 years ago or more. It's been so long ago I don't remember what it cost. It was a black box with doors at the bottom on opposite sides. I was never able to manage it well. I couldn't aerate it much at all, couldn't mix or flip it, couldn't adjust moisture throughout, the doors didn't work well because the compost fell down and prevented them from closing. It would have taken a lot more strength than I ever had. It did give me a small batch of compost once a year.

After about 20 years I finally decided to replace it but couldn't find a bin anywhere locally. I tried Home Cheapo and Lowes, Walmat, garden centers, garbage companies, my township, state, city, county: nobody had them. The county said they have a sale one day a year. The week before the sale, they cancelled it because they said the bins didn't arrive. They rescheduled the sale for 6 months later. My neighbor went to get one early in the day and they were gone- sold out already.

I had seen the Biostack online. Our local Smith and Hawkin didn't have them, but they did special order them for me. I paid full price but did save the shipping charge. I bought one at first and tied it for a year. I liked it so well because it's so easy for me to move, one tier at a time, and flip, aerate, correct moisture, etc. A year later I ordered a 2nd one. I don't regret spending that money at all. I'm able to make a lot more compost much faster. I harvest several batches of nice compost several times a year (2 or 3 times/year) now.

But overall, it's very difficult to find a bin around here. I was shocked that government agencies and private companies are totally oblivious to the fact that some people use and want them, they benefit the environment, that private stores could make money on them... so many factors.

Karen


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 25, 08 at 19:54

PPPP - the Soil Saver compost bin pic that you posted looks to me like an Earth Machine...only square. Does it stack? Or is it just one big container?

Token - How's that Bio-Stack working out for you? When I was doing research on what kind of "bin" I wanted, I kind of by passed these because I didn't think they'd hold as much as I'd be putting into them. I've always wondered how well they work. Seems to me, once you got the top try full, it'd be awhile before you could add more.

Val


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

Val, you are trying to tell me these look the same?

Sure the doors on the bottom are similar to both the EM and the SS but that is where the similarities end. Different plastic, different shape, different lid, different venting and different capacity.

If anything the Soil Saver resembles the Bio-Stack even if it is only as far as looks. Compare and tell me they don't look the same.

I will admit after looking at them side by side I think the Soil Saver looks more attractive and looks like it might be the ideal composter I could ever hope for. I'm not sure the Bio-Stack would work for me as I would not like the idea of compost spilling all over when I take the sections apart to harvest compost making a huge mess over the yard. I like the idea the door minimized the area where the compost is removed and if any compost falls into the grass it is easily cleaned up.

I will remind everyone these are at Sam's Club for $39.99 and honestly I would own 5 or 6 of these now if I didn't already own 3 Earth Machines. Take advantage of these discounted prices and it will also send Sam's Club a message that there is a market for compost bins.

I can honestly say I will probably buy another 3 or 4 of these before they stop selling these as I would kick myself if a month or 2 from now they no longer carry them and my only option will be Planet Natural for $114.95 a piece!!! I usually have the luck of finding a great item and for some reason they will stop selling them.


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 25, 08 at 21:29

PPPP - Merry Christmas! :-)

I only meant that they look the same as far as functionality (my bad...should have spelled it out). You know, one big container as opposed to a bunch of small containers that stack on top of each other.

If I were a member of Sam's Club (and I won't be) I'd surely pick one up 'cause I've been looking for another EM type container since our county hasn't offered them again.

Breath... :-)

Val


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack 54

Well I set it up yesterday and transferred some hot compost from my 3 Earth Machines to get a feel of how the Soil Saver would work. Well it is working it's magic as it is cooking right along at 160 degrees! A little too hot I know but I have a lot of weeds in there now so it's a good thing. On first note I can tell it holds quite a bit more than the Earth Machines as 2 of them were full and I took half out of each and the Soil Saver is maybe 2/5 full. I added a whole bag of used coffee grounds and a huge bag of shredded paper. I am very impressed. Seems like it is easier mixing the compost than the Earth Machines are which is a pleasant surprise. In all areas it is a win/win, and I will be buying more.


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

Sorry folks, but I think you can get a better compost bin at a better price.

It just is not wide enough to retain optimal heat.

"# Hinged lid blocks rain and retains essential heat
# Measures 28" Sq., 34" H; holds 13 cubic feet"

My first bin was a Jerry Baker plastic bin of aprox. the same size.

Now I have eight mesh bins 4 to 5' in diameter and 24" high. These give better heat storage than a 3'x3'x3' bin, if they rest directly on the ground. My core temps in the summer can reach 165F, which is the highest most people want.

I don't think you can reach this high core heat with a 28" by 28" by 34" high composter. Many will say you don't need to reach this temp, and I agree that many users may not be interested in reaching 165F. But the composter or bin should be able to reach this temp if the user wants to, IMHO.

The last 13' of 1/4" or 1/2" mesh hardware cloth 24" high, cost me $15 at a good hardware store (not a big box store). Holds about 24 cu. ft.? and is easier to turn than a bin 34" high.

Bob
six year composter
Wrote 2 of the GW FAQs


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 27, 08 at 18:34

Bob - and how do you keep the raccoons and possums out? Because that is what I use mine for in the winter. Burying in the middle of the pile does not discourage these guys around here.

Val


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

Bob you have a point you can build one cheaper. Heck my first bin 10 years ago was 3 pallets lined with chicken wire. Worked great if you had enough materials to fill the bin all at once. Using a continuous fill strategy never worked and temps never really got that hot for me as it dried out way to fast, plus turning the pile would sling the compost outside of the chicken wire spilling it outside the bin. Also since the wood slats of the pallet weren't solid like a wall, the compost will tend to spill out not like this compost bin.

Also you must not have read my post as mine is right now 160-165 depending on where I stick the thermometer. Like I said the bin isn't even 1/2 filled and it's at that temperature so your theory of needing that size bin to provide that temperature is just plain wrong.

Like Val said, with a bin like yours, it is an open invitation for rodents if you compost any kind of proteins which I do.


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

Bob, I beg to differ with you about the temp in a 28x28x34 bin. This is my Biostack
Photobucket

It stays hot pretty much all summer, spring and fall too if I continue adding to it and flipping it occasionally. Depending on the mix, moisture, etc, it stays hot for most of a week, at which point I try to add stuff and (hopefully) flip, aerate, add moisture, etc. It gets hot when only half full but only maintains that temp for about 3 days or so if only half full.

I think the mix, moisture, and air determine how high a temp is reached. Aeration is the biggest factor for me. (i.e. if I get lazy and don't aerate for several weeks, it cools). Total volume seems mostly to affect length of time that heat is maintained.

Karen
Composting 20 years or more


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

"It just is not wide enough to retain optimal heat."
My earlier post

"Also you must not have read my post as mine is right now 160-165 depending on where I stick the thermometer. Like I said the bin isn't even 1/2 filled and it's at that temperature so your theory of needing that size bin to provide that temperature is just plain wrong."
PK's earlier post

PK, I do not concede the point.

In the beginning of November, I made two side-by-side mesh bins and filled them with exactly the same ingredients in one day. One was 30" in diameter, and one was 40" in diameter. I kept daily records on these two piles as I have on all my piles. The core temp was slightly higher on the 40" bin; but more importantly, kept the temp. up for a longer period of time. I'll give the exact numbers next time I'm on line.

I don't think I said the core temps would be higher on a wider pile, but rather the heat would be retained longer.

Val -

I don't have a problem with racoons, but my dog takes no interest in my piles when smelly day old fish scraps have been put in the middle. Keep in mind that I only add fish when the core temp is 130F or more. This dissolves the fish scraps (mainly bluegill or small) in less than ten days. People who have odor issues often add smelly items when their core temp is not this high. My next door neighbor is adding whole banana peels to a 30F core and wonders why they don't break down as quickly as mine.


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

  • Posted by pt03 3 Southern Manitoba (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 29, 08 at 16:33

Robert I think when you said this...

"I don't think you can reach this high core heat with a 28" by 28" by 34" high composter."

...is what people are having an issue with. They are saying that they can and do get a high temperature with a smaller bin. At least that's what I think is being said.

I agree with you that a larger amount of feedstock will usually maintain heat longer mainly because there is more material to be consumed. Just as a fire with lots of wood will burn longer than a fire with little wood (although by restricting air into a fire the wood can be made to last longer). Some are also saying that by continually adding materials (wood to a small fire) they can maintain those temperatures as well.

Given the right ingredients and enough volume, heat will be generated. How much that enough is, is debatable, but I would say the Bio-stak and EM are big enough based on information given above.

Lloyd


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 29, 08 at 16:47

Robert - How did I ever get along without you? Since you are the only one that can be right, I must be wrong. Think I'd better stop composting since my way is not your way so therefore can't possibly be right.

Do you also post as another personality on this board? The two of you have much the same philosophy about right and wrong :-)

Val


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

Val your last post made me chuckle. Your sarcasm slays me.

Pt03 the points you bring up is exactly correct about how I have different views than does Robertz. Sure bigger is better when it comes to compost, but 160-165 is as hot as I really want. As long as it stays over 130 for me over a 2 week period I'd be happy. As long as I keep adding UCG the 150-160 temp is maintained.


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

Val,
Now, now, don't use that as an excuse for not trying your tumbler again. You said you're going to, remember?


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 29, 08 at 23:09

Otis...I'm afraid to try the tumbler now! If I did get some compost out of it, it couldn't possibly "good" compost since I'm bound to do it wrong (insert big smiley).

Val


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RE: Bought a compost bin at Sam's Club looks like a Bio Stack

Maybe you'll get a promotion or ...... a badge (?) Val.

Otis


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