What sort of compost bin?
The compost heap can be just a heap of green material with a carpet thrown over it. However, most people do tend to do a bit more then that.
Compost containers can be bought ready made but they can be quite expensive to buy. The best of these is The New Zealand Box, which is more or less a wooded oven.
Other containers can be made up more simply and cheaply then the New Zealand Box.
The wire Mesh compost bin is just a wire container lined with carpet or cardboard. This sort of bin is easy and cheap to make. Just chicken wire in a square or circular shape.
Another very cheap and effect way to make a compost bin is: The Pallet Box Bin.
Four sides held together by wire and line with carpet or thick cardboard.
One of the all time favourites is: The Straw Bale Compost Heap.
Straw bales make an excellent insulated, though short-lived compost bin. It should last a couple of years and then the old straw can be used for the start of the next heap.
As has been said, there are some excellent compost containers on the market that are ideal for making really good compost. However, beware, there are also some that are very inefficient containers about.
These inefficient containers are made mainly by companies that are involved in businesses other the gardening. They feel that their materials can be made into a compost bin and give no thought as to weather their containers are actually any good or not.
The main drawback with many commercial containers is that there are wide gaps in the sides that will allow the compost to dry out. You can overcome this by lining the sides with cardboard or old carpet.
One of the best commercially available container is the “ compost tumbler type”.
This is a barrel-shaped container that has some sort of framework so that it can be rotated by hand.
The bin is filled with the some sort of material as a normal compost heap and left for a few days to let the composting start and then you turn the bin several times each day.
The turning action of the tumbler ensures that the composting bacteria are never short of oxygen, so they keep working at full speed.
The constantan mixing makes sure that all the material is well composted and that there are no dry edges.
This is also a very useful method to use when weed seeds or diseased material is bringing used.
You can also put in meat and houses hold scraps with out fear of drawing rats to the site.
These compost tumbles tend to heat up very well and after three to four weeks they will produce an immature compost in which the original material will be unrecognisable.
At this point the compost can be dug right into the garden or you can stacked it up under cover to mature to a finer product and then get on with the next lot in the compost tumbler.
The biggest disadvantage of this method of composting is that it is hard work. It takes a strong arm to turn the tumbler.