Compost containers are basically structures designed to make compost, which is decomposed organic matter that can be used as fertilizer, soil conditioner and even a natural pesticide. Compost is an essential element that is frequently used in organic farming since it can substitute chemical fertilizers and other non organic materials. Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes lettuces, etc. can all be grown with the help of some organic compost.
There are several ways to create compost, however, it all depends on the specific needs of the user. A very effective way to make compost is by the use of a compost container. The container is simply a device where microorganisms turn organic material like leaves, fruit peels and grass clippings into compost.
Types of Containers
There are many types of compost containers that can be used to create compost. The type of container used depends entirely on its use. You could classify the containers in 5 main types: continuous, batch, worm, rolling and automatic
The continuous or enclosed container is the most common type and can handle yard and food wastes.
The term continuous refers to the fact that more organic material can be added on a constant basis. As soon as the compost is ready it starts to accumulate in the bottom and can be removed a couple of times a year. One of its main advantages is that is sealed with a lid so the rain and rodents can’t get inside.
Another benefit is that requires very little maintenance and is quite economic. The drawback with this type is the amount of time it takes to create the compost; it can take from some months to a couple of years. The process to make the compost can be accelerated if contents are aerated.
One of the interesting features of the batch container is that it can create compost at a very fast pace.
The tumbling movement from this type can make this a quick way when making compost as it can take from 1 to 2 months for it to be ready. The contents can easily be aerated providing oxygen to the microorganisms which is the key to the fast decomposition of the material. They are also well sealed protecting the compost from the pests and the rain. The drawbacks with this type is that once the decomposition begins you have to wait before adding further material and you shouldn’t forget to turn it daily for it to work the proper way.
Indoor compost containers also known as worm bins are a great way to make compost too.
They can be used indoors because of their small size and the added redworms can turn food waste into useful compost. They need very little maintenance as long as the proper ingredients are provided. The main drawback with the worm bins is that they need a temperature of approximately 50 to 80 Fahrenheit degrees to work well. During winter is preferable to keep them inside to prevent freezing.
Rolling containers can be a bit unusual but highly effective.
This type of compost containers has a spherical shape. You just open them, add your compost material, close and roll them a bit every day. They require almost no maintenance plus they keep rodents away and the rain from the organic material. The problem with this one is that once full it can get a bit heavy to roll.
Automatic composters are quite easy to manage.
You just add vegetable peelings and other organic matter as specified in the instructions with the dry material as well. You can have compost ready in about just 1 week or 2. These composters are very convenient if you don't have outdoor space. The downside is that they always have to be connected to the electrical outlet for them to work.
Tip to reduce the odor: In a pasta strainer (or any container you have with air flow) let your vegetable and fruit peelings dry the night before adding them to the composter.
Making your own container
Most composters are quite inexpensive but if you do not like the idea of buying them you can certainly make your own.
- The first thing you need to make your own compost container is a plastic bin.
You can find them basically everywhere. Garbage cans and other big plastic storage devices are ideal to make homemade compost containers. Your plastic bin should be big enough to hold a decent amount of compost (approximately 20 gallons or more) and is very important for it to have a removable lid. If you wish you can get a second lid to recover all the fluid that escapes from the bottom part of the bin.
- The second step is to prepare the bin appropriately. You need to drill several holes in the bin. The holes should be preferably 1/8 of an inch in diameter. The reason behind this is to promote the aeration when making compost plus the size of the hole is small enough to keep rodents and other pests away. The space between holes should be approximately 2 inches from all sides. Next you should place your homemade composter in an area that doesn’t bother you like near your garden if you have one; otherwise you can put it in your garage.
- Once your container is placed in your designated area you can fill it with lots of organic material like fruit peels, vegetables peels and leaves. Cutting the organic material in very small pieces increases its rate of decomposition. The amount of leaves inside the container should exceed the fruits and vegetables peels to maintain the proper moisture levels.
Remember to shake the contents of the bin every day in order to keep the compost aerated.
- Finally if the compost starts producing a strong odor is necessary to add more dry leaves for it to decompose faster.
To save time read some tips for leaving them already set up.
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