Compost Containment Contraptions

It’s that time of year when folks start collecting leaves to be used in the garden. They can be shredded and used as mulch; they can be used to make leaf mold by bagging them, wetting them down and closing the bag and let nature take its course over a few months; and they can be used as the all time favorite brown for compost.

I got my Earth Machine composter back in April through one of the city programs for a mere $30. If you order it from the internet, you’re going to pay as much as $90 plus shipping and handling. One company charges $55 just for shipping.

The Earth Machine works fairly well and definitely looks better than a pile of lawn waste just sitting there uncovered waiting to decompose. I think it’s better for the throw-it-in-and-let-it-compost people more than the I-want-it-done-really-fast-so-I-can-use-it-now kind of people, which includes me. It’s hard to turn the compost in the bin, and if you fill it up more than halfway, it would be almost impossible to turn it. I think the black plastic helps generate and contain the heat to help it cook, and I was able to get a couple of half-bin loads of compost over the summer.

There are lots of different models out there with prices all over the place. This one I found for $83.79 (which is marked down 30 percent) plus $26 to $36 for shipping.

Wire Mesh Composter

It folds flat, is rust resistant, and has a 22-year warranty. Personally, I’d take the money I would have spent on shipping and handling and go to the big box store and buy the heaviest chicken wire I could, make a circle and stake it to the ground. My “aeration tube” would be a smaller circle from the same chicken wire that would go in the center, then I could spend the money the bin itself would have cost on next year’s supplies.

I thought this was really cute and functional.

Compost Bench

It’s a bench/compost bin. The top lifts up for you to fluff your compost. It’s constructed of plastic lumber and sells for $2,250 after a 30 percent markdown. As cute as it is, I’m sure some of our engineeredly talented folks could make a much more price-friendly version.

I have the Patio Tumbler which I bought second-hand for the price of shipping if I had ordered it from the internet.

It works fairly well.  The interior is insulated so it retains a lot of the heat and breaks the materials down pretty quickly. There is a problem with one of the bushings and I’ve got to figure out a better way of fixing it, but overall I’m pleased with it.

Here is a compost screen priced at $40.00

Compost Screen

You could take a piece of chicken wire and staple it to a frame built out of scrap lumber and make your own for a fraction of the cost.

Here is the coolest thing I found.

Automatic Food Composter

It’s an automatic composter. There is a video on how it works. It sells for from $299 – $399 + $15 shipping. The pro edition is available at Target and the standard is available at Sams so you can avoid the shipping and handling costs. If I were inclined to spend money on a composter, I could see spending it on this one over some of the others.

  • It’s automatic
  • You don’t have to get your hands dirty
  • You don’t have to hold your scraps in the house until you get a chance to go outside to the regular compost heap
  • You don’t have to worry about smells
  • Neither snow nor hail nor gloom of night will stop it from producing compost

Until the economically savvy inner me allows me to spend that kind of money on a composter, I’ll be making compost the old school way. I’ll be collecting my leaves and my neighbors’ leaves and your leaves too if you leave them nice and tidy in a plastic bag by the curb.

Happy Gardening!!!!

Got my Earth Machine today.

Earth Machine I got an Earth Machine today through the city’s Environmental Resource Event. City residents could purchase one for $30 instead of the retail of $89. They also had water barrels for $40.

I thought I’d get a chance to mingle with a few gardening/composting obsessed folks, but this event was so organized you didn’t have to get out of your car. It was held in the parking area near DeVry Institute. The setup was like a driving range you’d see at school. You had traffic cones that guided your travel through the parking lot.

You were greeted by a worker who directed you into the parking lot. Once you entered the parking lot, you told a second worker your desire (purchasing a water barrel or a compost bin or dropping off hazardous waste) and were sent around to the appropriate “station”. I had a couple of old printers to let go of, but they also collected old computers and computer parts, old paint, old household chemicals, old prescription meds.

I got there a little past around 8:00, which was the scheduled starting time, and there were quite a few people in front of me. I saw a half dozen gas lawn mowers that had been turned in (you got a $100 gift certificate toward the purchase of an electric or push mower).

They were giving you an “environmentally friendly” gas can for trade if you turned your old one in, but I couldn’t get to mine in the garage so I missed out on that.

It was impressed with the efficiency of it all. You even got a parting gift. I got two compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Happy Gardening!!!

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