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.
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.
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.Â 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
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.
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.
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.