Selecting your Compost Structure

Selecting your compost structure is NOT as important as youwould think. What is important is that you create compost.

Compost needs seven main requirements in place for proper decomposition. Those factors are compost size, air, moisture, fragment size, dry matter, green matter, and heat. Initially though, you need to make sure that your structure provides minimum compost size. A compost bin or pile that is too small will not create hot enough heat for proper organic matter decomposition.

Preference and practicality will be the real reasons for the structure you select. If you don't have a lot of room in your garden, you may want to use a tumbler or commercial compost bin. With more room, you have more options, like a compost pile or a wire-based compost bin.

multi-bin-composter

Minimum Size of Compost

Your compost structure (or compost pile) must be at a minimum of seven cubic feet to provide enough heat, air, and moisture for adequate decomposition. Your "finished" compost should also provide enough compost for your garden to make your efforts worthwhile.

What's Seven Cubic Feet?

It's easy for me to tell you that the minimum size of your compost pile should be seven cubic feet, but what does that mean?

Seven cubic feet is (simple approximates):

  • Two feet wide by two feet deep by two feet high
  • .5 meter wide by .5 meter feet deep by .5 meter high
  • 55 gallons
  • 208 liters
  • 11 5-gallon buckets
  • Two full large wheelbarrows

Types of Typical Compost Structures

Compost Tumbler

The Compost Tumbler usually has a drum type unit placed between vertical uprights, and you manually turn the tumbler or drum.

See the lastest compost tumblers at Amazon.com

compost-tumbler

compost-tumbler

Advantages:

  • Very easy to mix and turn compost materials
  • Compost is very well aerated
  • Excludes rodents
  • Easy to move (mobile)

Disadvantages:

  • The Compost Tumbler can be expensive`
  • You lose contact with your native soil for microorganisms and earthworms exchange

Stackable Compost Bin

The Stackable Compost Bin can be made of wood or commercial types are available.

See the lastest composters at Amazon.com

stackable-composter

Advantages:

  • Makes it easy to adapt to the size and volume of compost
  • Compost layers are well contained and easy to manage

Disadvantages:

  • Need more space for unused stacks
  • Many parts (stacks) to inventory
  • Building complexity increases

Wire Mesh Compost Bin

Wire Mesh Compost Bins are perhaps the most versatile of compost structures. They are easy to build and maintain.

wire-mesh-compost

Advantages:

  • Compost is very well aerated
  • Easy to move (mobile)
  • Rodent resistant
  • Easier to work with finished compost
  • Inexpensive to build
  • Contact with your native soil for microorganisms and earthworms exchange

Disadvantages:

  • The wire will rust within time

Fixed Compost Bin

These types of compost structures are stationary, and are usually located in a permanent location. Materials used are wood, wire, blocks, or brick

fixed-compost-bin

Advantages:

  • Contact with your native soil for microorganisms and earthworms exchange
  • Easy to camouflage

Disadvantages:

  • Not mobile
  • Materials to build could be expensive
  • Manual turning required for aeration

Multi Compost Bin

Multi Compost Bins work based on incrementing your compost from one bin to the next. As the first bin's compost is filled, and as had time to decompose, it is then turned into the second bin, and so on into the next. Most of the finished compost will end up in the last bin, and you can begin to use it for your garden from the bottom of the pile.

multi-compost-bin

Advantages:

  • Contact with your native soil for microorganisms and earthworms exchange
  • Easy to camouflage
  • Easier than fixed compost bin to turn compost for aeration
  • Large quantities of compost are easier to work with

Disadvantages:

  • Not mobile
  • Materials to build could be expensive
  • Manual turning required for aeration
  • Labor intensive

Freestanding Compost Pile

Freestanding Compost Piles are convenient in that they are easy to build and maintain. You can also add organic material as needed.

compost-pile

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive to build
  • Contact with your native soil for microorganisms and earthworms exchange
  • Little effort is need to maintain
  • Compost location can be easily changed

Disadvantages:

  • Easy for rodents to invade
  • May appear unattractive if it is in plain view of neighbors

Once your compost structure is selected you can now learn how to make compost.

See the latest compost products at Amazon.com


Next - learn how to create your compost

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