How to Choose a Composter
WE'VE come a long way from the days of backyard compost piles. Today's gardeners can compost with much greater efficiency and ease. The three types of composters are:
- continuous composters
- batch composters
- indoor composters (includes the worm composters)
This guide will help you decide which type is best for you.
These enclosed bins are meant to handle a variety of material, from kitchen scraps to yard waste. They're called "continuous" because you can add material all the time. Compost is generated slowly. Usually the finished compost filters to the bottom of the bin and can be removed a few times a year. Because they are sealed with a lid, rodents and other critters are kept out.
Best for: Gardeners who want a place to toss kitchen scraps, garden weeds and some yard waste. Toss it and forget it!
Tumbling action turns these composters into efficient, compost-accelerating machines. Each batch starts with a balanced mix of ingredients and cooks until it's done, which can be as little as four to eight weeks. A batch composter is the fastest way to create compost, but it needs to be turned daily and checked for sufficient moisture. While one batch is cooking, you stockpile the materials for the next batch. The stockpile can be an open bin, pile or a continuous composter.
Best for: Gardeners who want to get more compost faster — and are willing to put in a bit more effort and planning.
Indoor Composters and Worm Bins
It's possible to make compost indoors, though it's on a smaller scale. With specially designed composters and worm bins, you can turn kitchen scraps into compost for houseplants and the garden.
Best for: People who want to compost kitchen waste. Worm bins are especially fascinating to young people — good for classrooms.