These helpful accessories can be a great benefit to you in your composting endeavors
Composting is a great way to get more involved with your yard, more up-close and personal. By making compost you are reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills while producing a valuable fertilizer – compost – that will turn you into a super gardener!
Compost is easy to make. Just gather up the organic plant material from your yard – things such as grass clippings, leaves, straw, and other plant materials – and pile them together in one place. The lazy way to do it is just to add things to the pile as your yard produces them, and over time you will build up a sizeable pile that will eventually produce useable compost. However, there are a number of things you can do to speed up the process and maximize the effect, as well as the quality of the compost.
The above link will take you to an article that provides some helpful information on making and managing a compost pile. Additionally, there are a number of accessories and tools available to you that can make your job easier, as well as more productive.
Manufactured bins are the most obvious and common accessory, and something many backyard composters use. In fact, a lot of people buy multiple compost bins because they like them so much!
Another extremely helpful tool for many composters is an electric leaf shredder. Leaves are a great addition to the compost pile. However, the problem with leaves is that they tend to stick together when wet and form thick mats. These leaf mats have a hard time mixing with other compost ingredients and thus they can take a long time to breakdown. A leaf shredder is the perfect solution to this problem. By shredding the leaves you can speed their decomposition immensely.
If you are collecting food and flower scraps n your house to be added to the compost bin you may appreciate a fruit fly catcher. Fruit flies seem to materialize out of thin air any place where this is rotting food. Fruit fly catchers have variable success rates, so read the reviews before purchasing.
Compost Starter is a useful accessory for any serious composter. Starter is made up of ingredients that, when added to a compost pile will kick start the decomposition process. A pile that has been given a dose of compost starter will heat up quite a bit more quickly, and thus will produce the finished product faster, too.
One of the most important qualities of a successful and efficient compost pile is good air flow. Gardeners can improve the aeration of their pile by stirring it up with a pitch fork, or by turning it over into a new pile. However, another simple way to do this is to use a compost aerator. This is a simple, inexpensive tool that allows you to loosen up a pile and create air pockets without all the heavy breathing and perspiration that is usually involved in stirring or turning a pile. This one by Yard Butler is one of the best.
When your compost pile has completed its work and the compost is ready to use, there will still often be some large objects in it, like pieces of wood or stems from plants. When scooping out the compost to add it to your flower beds and garden you may find a compost sieve to be extremely useful. This simple tool makes it easy to separate out the larger materials at the same time that you are scooping it from the pile. A handheld sieve is great because it is light weight. Scooping shovel fulls into a large sieve, as is usually done, makes for a very heavy sieve to have to shake out in order to perform the separation.
Compost needs to get up to pretty high temperatures in order to be as efficient as possible. A pile typically heats up to peak temperatures of 140-160 degrees for a few days and then cools back down. The pile can be returned to a high temperature again a couple more times by stirring or turning the pile. However, it is not always easy to know when the right time to do this is. This is where a compost thermometer comes in very handy. It takes away the guessing. Just plunge the thermometer into the center of the pile, wait for the temperature reading to stabilize and then you will know when the pile needs to be turned.
If you include food scraps in your open air compost pile you may want to purchase a rodent screen. This helps to protect the pile from being rummaged through by rats, mice and other rodents, and more importantly will hopefully deter them enough that they will give up and leave your yard alone.
A compost crock or pail is a great way to save up food scraps and other indoor composting materials. These provide an attractive container, rather than just using an ugly old cut off milk carton.
Composting is simple enough that it can be done with no equipment. But, as Thelonius Monk said, “simple isn’t easy”. Why not add some of these great tools to make your composting efforts simple and easier!