Finding the Right Composter

***Thanks for catching my mistake and providing a solution.  Srey***

Last year I started a small garden just to see if I would enjoy it as a hobby. I grew tomatoes, zucchini, and basil plants. Surprisingly, all the plants survived, and I ended up with a decent harvest. It was such an enjoyable experience that I’m expanding my garden this year. I also decided to try making my own compost.

Why did I make compost instead of buying it? Because I had such a positive experience with gardening, making my own compost seemed like a natural progression. Plus, I had a compelling reason.

Here’s the honest reason why I decided to compost. Go ahead and laugh if you want.

I wanted to learn to compost to cut down on the food scraps I’m always throwing away. Think about it. Heat plus decomposing fruits and vegetables resulted in a stench so strong I’m forced to clean the trash bin at least once or twice a month.

Trust me, this was one of the worst chores ever. Sure, I could freeze my scraps until trash day, like some of my friends, but who’s going to take the time to do something like that? Furthermore, I don’t have the space in my freezer.

So after a particularly foul incident with the trash bin last week, I resolved to do something about it. Composting seemed the best solution.

I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say I threw away my favorite shirt and promised myself two showers after cleaning. During that time, I figured out the benefits of composting, while solving this problem I had with the trash bin. The benefits were obvious in their simplicity: the scraps wouldn’t stink things up, and I could use the compost in my garden.

Of course, just because the solution was simple didn’t mean I wanted to actually do it. I had to come to terms with maintaining a composter. It would be another responsibility.

But if I was going to commit to something like this, I knew I had to find the perfect composter for me. Other than a tumbling option, I didn’t know what kind of composter to buy because there are so many products out there.

I had a general idea of how composting works, but I wasn’t sure of the actual process and other pertinent details. Fortunately, I found some information on a site that helped me find the best compost tumbler for my needs.

After exploring the various options, I decided to go with a tumbler with two separate chambers so I could make compost continuously. (One bin would have the compost being made, while the other would have the finished, ready-to-use compost.) I liked the compact design and price point, although some of the reviews mentioned the assembly was a pain. That didn’t stop me, since all of my brothers are experts at that sort of thing.

Sure enough, once my composter arrived my family members easily assembled it, while I supervised. It was placed in a shady spot in the corner of the yard.

Finally, my bin was ready to go. I gathered my bucket of scraps, egg shells, and coffee grounds I’d been saving. I layered that with dry leaves and shredded newspaper, remembering the 2:1 ratio I’d read about on the site. Then I cranked the bin. It didn’t spin as easily as I had imagined, but I’m sure with practice and more elbow grease I’ll get the hang of it.

It’s been a few weeks now, and I’m glad I got the composter. Is there a smell? I’m happy to report the composter area smells pleasant, earthy and fresh. This means the layers of green and brown matter were properly aerated, which was a huge relief. I also recently saw some earthworms in the chamber, so now I’m considering adding a few red worms to see if it will speed up the process.

As for the trash bin, I no longer have to clean it as often, and when I do clean it, the smell doesn’t make me sick like before. This alone has made composting worth it.

Soon the first batch of compost will be ready to use in my garden. I’m looking forward to it. Who knew such a small change could provide so many benefits?