>> Tuesday, May 18, 2010
When we did the Start Composting challenge a few months ago, I decided to put my worm bin out of service for awhile and try a different composting method. I'd been eying a compost tumbler at Home Depot (Lowes?) for $100, but then decided to try Craigslist, where I found this bad boy:
It's twice as big as the one from Home Depot (Lowes?) and cost half as much, though perhaps it's not quite as quality. I'm pretty sure the people I bought it from made it themselves, and after we got it home, we had to do some minor repair work to the frame. All in all though, I've been satisfied with the purchase.
So now that I've tried both methods, which do I like better? To be honest, both have their downsides:
- The compost tumbler takes up a huge amount of space. It's as big as our trash can, but with the frame, sits much farther out from the wall.
- The compost tumbler stinks. I don't remember ever noticing a stench coming from the worm bin, but if I did, it definitely wasn't as strong as the tumbler. Luckily, the smell is mostly contained inside the tumbler and is only really strong when I open it up to add food scraps.
- Because it's so large and stinky, the tumbler sits way over on the side of the house by the trash cans - not nearly as convenient as the porch where the worm bin was.
- Food takes much longer to decompose in the tumbler.
- The worm bin leaked! And attracted fruit flies!
I've heard so many people wax poetic about the joy of watching their waste turn into useful compost that I really expected to like it. But the truth is that I really really wish my city would start collecting food scraps, turn it into compost for me, and sell it back for a cheap amount. They already compost yard waste - why not food scraps?
In the meantime, our plan is to continue using the tumbler until it's full, and then go back to using the worm bin while the compost in the tumbler finishes. According to Pragmatic Environmentalism, we could solve our fruit fly problem with the worm bin by freezing the food scraps before putting them in the bin. And I've also read that we could solve our leaking problem by putting the bin up on bricks with an extra lid underneath to catch the dripping worm tea.
The compost in our worm bin is coming along nicely:
And here's a bonus picture of our garden:
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