Need advice on barrel composter

maggiewp(6)May 6, 2013

Hello fellow gardeners,

I am new to composting but am highly motivated. We have dogs/ deer/squirrels so I am interested in an enclosed composter to help keep these four-legged creatures out. I am considering the Rapid Blend Easy Composter sold by Garden's Alive. It is a turnable drum design with vented sides and barrel design that can hold 50 gal of material. Can anyone recommend it - or tell me why I shouldn't get it? It will only cost me $100 plus shipping if I buy it before my coupon expires. Unfortunately there are no reviews for it on their website.

Thank you in advance!

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wirosarian_z4b_WI

I'm not a fan of these kind of composting systems...why?...you'll find that they are way too small. If you are composting any amount of tree leaves & other materials, a barrel will not begin to handle them. I have a wire mesh bin that is 6' in diameter by 4' high & I have space so I can set up 3 of them if needed. Once you start using compost, you will find that you can never make enough of it to go around.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 5:10PM
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maggiewp(6)

Thanks for the input. Do you actually put food scraps in this compost system? I have done one like you suggest for grass clippings and leaves at my old house. But on this property I know I will attract all sorts of animals if it's open and has food in it.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 5:41PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

You might want to do a search over in the compost forum.
Most of them don't like tumbler type composting. I do, but I tumble for a couple of weeks, til partially broken down, then turn it into a free staning composter. Less work on my back IMHO. I also have 2 tumblers and 2 free standers, so I have a lot more to work with!
The big problem with tumblers is adding and adding and adding and you can never really finish! That's why I do the partial in the tumbler and then add to the other to finish.
It works for me! Nancy

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:06PM
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melle_sacto(Z9/Sunset 14 CA)

We have two tumbler composters and the problem is that it all mixes around in various stages of composting. I'm probably partially to blame -- I don't tumble them on a daily basis.

nancyjane -- I like your idea of moving the compost out once it's partially finished.

My husband wants to build a big worm bin instead, he seems to think that would be the best thing for us since we have a small yard and mostly food scraps to compost. Last year we bought a bale of straw to add to the compost, and it helped, but if we could keep worms going that would probably be better.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 9:52AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

melle There is a vermicomposting forum here! Check it out! Nancy

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:22PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

I have given up on traditional composting.

Now that I know about hugelkultur, I am burying wood scraps at the bottom of my raised beds, and filling with my compostables making sure there is a lot of nitrogen as the decomposing wood can use a lot of nitrogen.

bury the woody debree, lots of coffee grounds or comfrey leaves, and the kitchen scrapes, and cover with 8" or more of soil, and just call it good. So far, the plants are doing fine planted almost immediately over this. but of course, nothing too advance, usually from seed so it is a while before the roots get down there.

The other thing I do is the vitamix - put in the days kitchen scapes and 5-6 cups of water and blend for a minute, just poor on the beds between plants.

Regular composting was frankly too much work.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:14AM
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