A number of products make the composting process easier and faster, especially in a warm climate such as ours.
Entrepreneurs have developed a variety of composters that are perfect for the Keys. They take up little space, are easy to use and produce useable compost very quickly.
They all work on a variation of using a large barrel that opens on one end. The container is then mounted on a frame that allows it to turn easily. Since these containers are made from plastic they last for years and resist all kinds of weather and local critters.
One device, available on composters.com is called the Green Machine. Made by Mantis, the unit consists of a recycled plastic container like many of the others. One advantage it has are interior “teeth” that break up the compost. It also has aeration holes to increase bacterial activity.
This tumbling compost bin features a center aeration tube with a cross bar that assists in the break up and separation of compost as it is turned. This prevents the materials from turning into a ball and just sliding back and forth when tumbled.
Better yet, the container avoids the odor problems that open piles encounter.
A less expensive model that works equally well is called the Urban Compost Tumbler.
It is also available on composters.com.
Another model, referred to as The King of all Composters, uses a two-chamber design to allow the compost to “cook” in one section, while leaving plenty of room to fill the other chamber with fresh scraps. Each section has a generous 10 bushel capacity, for a total of 20 bushels of space.
To use the device requires just opening one or both of the doors, dumping in garbage and turn the handle to spin. The unit features a gear system that makes it easy to turn. It sits 32 inches off the ground for easy loading and unloading.
These devices — and many others — can be a bit pricey but they will last a long time and produce great results. Be sure to get a tumbler that makes it possible to turn the compost easily and regularly.
In just a few weeks, you’ll get what some gardeners call black gold. It’s great fertilizer and costs nothing to make.