Need Help - Looking for a Composter

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Linda69, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. Linda69

    Linda69 New Member

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    Hi Everyone.

    I'm so glad I found this forum and it is great to be here! So over the past few days I was lurking around and finally decided to register. Hopefully I can get some help here.

    As I already wrote in my introductory post, me and my husband recently finished our new house. Now we want to take care of the garden. First off we are pretty new to that, so please bear that in mind. Our property is about 100 sqm. We just want to plant some basic veggies and fruits organically.

    I also want to get a composter. I already did some research online and checked out some websites classified adds and trusted shopping sites like http://www.for-sale.co.uk/composter. I found some very basic and cheap ones as well as a couple of fancy so called Tumbler Composters. I've never seen them before. So what are the benefits to these ones? Can anybody explain that to me? Or should I just get an ordinary Stack or Pyramid Composter?

    And which one should I buy? As I said before, one can get some cheap ones starting at about $80 up to $300. So what is the difference?

    Sorry for all these questions, but I don't know so much about it. So any feedback is highly appreciated.

    Linda.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  2. chamni

    chamni New Member

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    This may benefit for you.And you can adapt everything around you.
    good luck and enjoy with your garden.
     
  3. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    since you are new to this, keep it simple and as inexpensive as
    possible to start with.

    IMO most food and garden scraps can be buried and/or eaten by
    worms and/or chickens or used as a mulch. only a few need any
    special concern or handling at all (for us it is potato peels and
    certain weed roots that i want to be sure are dried out before
    they get buried).

    whatever you can do to reuse and do things simply it will pay off
    multiple ways in the future.

    if you have a spot you can dig a trench then you can fill it in and
    cover it as needed as you go. for me i bury all garden debris in
    a part of the garden each year and the next year i use a different
    spot. usually by the end of three to five years i've gotten back to
    where i started and can repeat the process. i don't mind a little
    digging as it helps me see how the garden soil is improving.
     
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  4. BajaJohn

    BajaJohn New Member

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    Hi Linda - and welcome.
    I assume you meant that your garden will be 100 sqm - like 10 m x 10 m square. I have a similar sized veggie garden and put several cubic meters of compost per year on it. Most of it comes from trees in other parts of my yard that drop their leaves throughout the year in my relatively dry subtropical climate. With your climate, you may get good compost quite quickly from just making a pile in a corner of your property. Possibly cover it with a waterproof sheet to control moisture content.
    Your composting plans depend on how much you anticipate producing. If just kitchen and garden waste, there won't be much and you can easily handle it with a pile in a hidden corner that you turn with a fork once in a while. Or just bury it as Sunshine suggests, especially if you get it started in a small pile until you collect enough to bury. Put it in a drum or trashcan or build a retainer with old bits of sheet material if you wish. It should last long enough to get a feel for a long-term composting plan. The commercially available composting containers seem to target the small scale market so if you plan on more compost, you may find them a challenge to incorporate into a larger scale plan. I started off with a 1.5 cubic meter enclosure made from 4 steel fence posts hammered into the ground then wrapped with 2" square wire mesh. I lined the sides with black polyethylene sheet to hold moisture. The 2 m sheet width was enough to fold over the top of the compost too. When it was full, I added a second compartment and transferred the compost to aerated it. The aeration is critical to rapid composting and is the motivation for the tumbler composters. A quick turn every day or so keeps the compost better aerated than just a pile. Other people recommend turning a normal compost pile every week or so, claiming results as fast as the tumblers. Now I have built cement block bays with slotted steel doors for composting. You can also take advantage of a sloped area on your land to make transfer between bins easier.

    The home-made tumbler in the video posted here seems a bit flimsy. I use a similar barrel to collect compost but just roll it around the garden. It gets pretty heavy as it fills which is why I'm sceptical of the home made one here. . When it is full, I empty it into one of my bays (every 1-2 weeks). It gets a good start this way. I usually add about 25% goat manure to the barrel as I'm filling it. You can also mix in other additives such as molasses, biochar mycorrhizal fungus etc. that garner much interest in permaculture circles.

    A completely unrelated topic to consider in your garden design is the local wildlife. I have tremendous problems with newly germinated or transplanted seedlings because they seem a favorite with local wildlife. Entire rows of seedlings can be left as bare stalks with all the leaves nipped off. I currently use chickenwire cloches to protect things but they are a pain to use and especially to store. I'm pretty much committed to building a mesh-covered frame over my entire garden. I also plan to use the frame to support shade cloth to prevent sunburn in summer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
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  5. Linda69

    Linda69 New Member

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    Thank you everybody for all these tips. And the vid. I will show it to my husband. I guess it would be fun - and cheaper - to build it ourselves.
     
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  6. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    I made a tumbler composter out of plywood (the ends) and 2x4's for the actual barrel part. Plumbing fittings on each end with nipples allow me to roll it with a crank handle. I can get 1.3 yard of finished compost in around 15 days with my contraption. The stand is two A frames made from 4x4's with holes drilled for the end nipples.

    I used floor flanges for 1 1/2 inch pipe nipple on one end and the crank handle end uses two flanges(one inside, one outside with an extra long thread to give better support, that end is 1 inch pipe, two elbows and an end cap allow me to build the crank handle. The 2x4's are put on tight to each other but as they dry out you get just enough air space for the whole thing to work a treat. Two hinges and a clasp hold the door in place.
     

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