The first step to a productive vegetable garden is to use good quality compost and what is better than produce this yourself? Making compost yourself is easy, cheap and eco-friendly. In this article, we'll review backyard composters to compost your garden waste and food scraps.
We've also considered:
- Redmon Green Culture 65-Gallon Compost Bin
- Good Ideas CW-ECOS Compost Wizard Eco Square Composter
- Exaco 628001 Eco-Master Polypropylene Composter
Why use a backyard composter?
Composting is an easy way to start a self-sufficient vegetable garden. The waste your vegetable garden produces can be thrown in the compost bin and be reused to grow new crops. You can also throw food scraps in the compost bin, so you produce less garbage which is a big plus too.
It can save you money because you don't have to buy expensive fertilizers. After you purchase a backyard composter, there are no more costs. It is also much cheaper than buying soil at the garden center.
The soil a compost bin produces is organic, which is better for the environment, and it is better for your vegetable garden in the long run. In some occasions, fertilizers still may be used. To provide your vegetable plants with specific nutrients more quickly, for instance.
How to compost?
Composting isn't hard, but there are a few things you need to know before starting without any knowledge.
What can be composted?
You might think that all food and yard waste can be composted. However, there are some foods you can't put in your backyard composter so here is a list of the most common things to make compost from:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Garden waste
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Shredded paper bags
- Natural tea bags
What can't be composted?
On the other hand somethings are not so good for composting:
- Large branches
- Pet droppings
- Meat and fish
- Butter and milk
- Diseased plants
Mix it up
The best way to compost is to use a variety of materials to make your compost from. Mix green materials such as green weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps and grass cuttings with brown materials such as brown leaves, dead plants and weeds, and shredded paper.
The green materials are high in nitrogen, while the brown materials are high in carbon. Also, the green materials are used in the heating process, and the brown materials are used as fiber.
A good rule of thumb you can use for nutrient-rich compost is to use 1/3th to half of the green materials and 2/3th to half of the brown materials.
To speed up the process you generally want to mix the pile every few weeks so the air in the middle en bottom part of the pile gets renewed. Also, if you added stuff to the pile you can mix it with the older parts.
Make it wet (but not too wet)
Too many brown materials can make your compost pile too dry, while too many green materials can make it too wet.
If you take a hand full of compost from the bin it should feel as a wrung-out sponge. It should crumble off your hand without making your hands too dirty.
So, what is the best compost bin?
As simple they seem from the outside, there can be quite some difference in quality and the quality of the compost it produces. We’ve looked at many of the top-selling compost bins to help you choose the best backyard composter on the market.
Algreen Products Soil Saver Classic Compost bin
This compost bin is 32 inches high, has a length of 28 inches and is 28 inches deep. This comes down to a 90-gallon capacity, which is medium sized compared to the other bins. The construction is made from BPA and eco-friendly material. The construction is 0.2 inches thick which helps insulate so the compost produces heat faster and the heat stays inside.
This backyard composter has dual hatch doors which makes it easy to access the bin from two sides. To open the top the lid has to be removed entirely. The lid comes with two sturdy locks to prevent critters from getting in. It does require two hands to remove the top. It doesn’t have a bottom which can be a problem if you plan to move it often.
Compost Bin by GEOBIN
This round compost bin has a huge capacity of 218 gallons and is up to 4 feet in width. The construction is made of hard plastic which is recycled for 50%. It is set up with simple closure keys which makes setting up the bin a matter of seconds.
Because of the holes in the sides, it is ventilated very well. The downside is that it isn’t insulated and the heat doesn’t stay inside. This makes the composting process longer than others. For effective composting, you should make use of layers.
Redmon Green Culture 65-Gallon Compost Bin
The Redmon backyard composter is made of rugged plastic resin and it is weather- and UV-resistant. Its dimensions are comparable to the other bins on the list: 31 inches high, 26 inches deep and 26 inches wide. It holds up to 65 gallons or 8.5 cubic feet, which is a decent size.
It weighs only 15lbs and is easy to ensemble. Generally, it takes only ten minutes to do so. It has spikes on the bottom to anchor it to the ground.
The top easy to open but is high enough for squirrels and other critters to not get in. On the sides, there are four easy to open lift doors for access all around the bin. The bottom is open so worms and other micro-organisms can get in easily to speed up the composting process. Keep in mind that this makes it a little hard to move the bin around the garden.
Good Ideas CW-ECOS Compost Wizard Eco Square Composter
The material is not very thick and it weighs only 6.7 pounds. The plastic feels a bit flimsy and is not as sturdy as others. With 32.8 inches high, 29 inches in length and 29 inches deep it holds a capacity of 100 gallons.
It is designed with holes on the sides to aid in aeration. The two lift doors at the sides provide easy access to get the compost out of the bin. The assembly is easy and doesn’t require any tools. Also, you can take the bin apart easily with just a few clips to move it around. It doesn’t have a bottom and is placed on the ground.
Enviro World 82 Gallon Compost Bin
The Enviro compost bin is has a single body design. This means it is made out of one piece 100% recycled material. Therefore it doesn’t require any assembly and is ready to use once it is delivered. It stores up to 82 gallons or 11 cubic feet of compost.
It has one lift door on the bottom and the top comes with an easy twist locking lid. Its oval design makes it easy to get the compost out of the bottom. It’s strategically placed ventilation holes maximize the composting process. It even has adjustable upper body vents to regulate the airflow.
Exaco 628001 Eco-Master Polypropylene Composter
It is constructed from all recycled UV-resistant polypropylene. This makes the bin itself very sturdy and durable. With its 40 inches in height, it is a little bit higher than others. The capacity of the composting bin is 120 gallons. This makes it one of the larger ones on the market.
The top is securely locked with a mechanism to prevent raccoons and critters from getting inside. This prevents the lid from being blown away by the wind. Some people have problems with figuring out how the locking mechanism works.
Conclusion - the best compost bin
We’ve come to the conclusion that there are a lot of different needs when you look for the best composting bin. If we to pick the best large compost bin there is. Our pick is the Enviro World bin. It is worth your money but some people find it too expensive. Therefore we came up with three winners in total: the best compost bin overall, the best value for your money bin and the best moveable bin.