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24
Dec

Ridgewood Community Composting Reviews

Making compost requires three constants: heat, circulating air, and moisture. Sounds simple, right?   
Even so, we find the huge variety of bins can be a bit of a choice paralysis! To point you in the right direction, a few composting enthusiasts in the community have reviewed the compost bins they have. 

Joanna Hanrahan uses a Stationary Composter. 

We have the Aerobin 400. This is the easy, no fuss, no turning composter. A 55-gallon (Aerobin 200) and 110 gallons (Aerobin 400) version is available. The latter is popular with schools.  
  1.  The sides and lid are double-walled to retain the heat and circulate around the whole pile, not just the centre as is the case with traditional composters. 
  1. It has an aeration filter or lung in the middle for air flow which helps increase the microbes. No turning required! 
  1. Excess moisture drains at the bottom.   
The Aerobin will create the first compost batch in twelve weeks from the time material is first added to the bin; as with all kinds of composts, it’s a continuous cycle feeding from the top and taking compost out of the bottom.  
For our family, this bin is all pros! 
 

Carolyn Butler uses a stackable Vermicompost. 

I use a vermicompost (compost with worms) that’s stackable. The worms can take about half a pound a day, but the challenge is they need to be kept about 40°F. So in winter months they compost much slower. I keep it covered in my garage in the winter and outside out of direct sunlight in the summer (they don’t like being too hot either). I think I would rate it at a 4- because while it works, but I don’t think it’s big enough for my family—there’s 6+ of us. This isn’t an issue with the composter per se but more of a challenge with me getting my family to stop over buying and cooking in excess of what we eat.  
Pro is that worms compost much faster than traditional composting, con is that you need to monitor them a bit more however I find it to be very easy, minimal upkeep really. I ordered the stackable composter from earth easy. And once you recover it you get a voucher for the world. You enter info online and worms are mailed to you locally. Easy peasy.  

Arianne VanVliet uses a Mantis Twin Barrel Composter. 

I purchased our compost about 20-25 years ago from Mantis.com. Back then I paid about $500. There weren’t many choices back then when looking for a large volume tumbling composter. I would rate it a 4.5/5.   
Pros— 
  • Large volume.
  • Twin barrels allow for ready/aged compost in one barrel, and young compost in another barrel.
  • It is elevated, so wheelbarrow can be placed under to drop compost into wheelbarrow.
  • It’s very durable; 20-25 years later, this composter is still working fine. 

Cons— 
  • It’s difficult/heavy to turn (although it does have a handle) when it has a lot of compost volume in it;
  • Due to its size, it takes up a lot of space; suits a medium-large yard. 

Carolyn Jacoby has aOpen-Air Compost Pile and Barrel. 

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I first found out about composting (and organic gardening) as a child gardener for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in the 1950s.  I started practicing them both more regularly after becoming a homeowner in 1979.  

For composting, all these years later, the basic premise has remained the same: establish a pile, adding garden debris, lawn clippings, fall leaves, and kitchen waste (veg/fruit only); turn the pile regularly to aerate, add water during a drought; and then be patient.  I have two piles: I start a new one each fall, and then in the spring,  I use the older one for my beds, side/top dressings, to mix in with potting soils, to sprinkle on the grass … any  leftover is saved in bags to use over the summer. I also use the compost for gifting.  Note: only organic liquid fertilizer is used in the pots, as needed.  
As I have a small back area next to a neighbor’s property, I was sensitive about animals so purchased a black composting barrel from NJDEP ten years ago. During the winter, when the pile is frozen, I use this for all the kitchen waste. Come spring, I’ll add its contents to the pile and then turn everything together. I call this the “Jacoby KISS method.”   

Kristen Mann composts with a Barrel and Vermicompost. 

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I keep it simple.  I don’t have the multi-layered, formal wood,  fence fancy composter, like some other composting enthusiasts have. I simply focus on collecting all of my vegetative waste from every meal each day and put it out the back door in a small William Sonoma metal composter  (it used to be indoors on my kitchen countertop to collect the waste, but outdoors I now prefer).  Once that collection can is full, I then transfer the waste into a barrel composter out back at the garden. (we have this one from Home Depot and an even larger composter for lawn clippings here . The large composters get turned every day or at least 4 times a week and need heat/sunlight and water to break down the organic materials. During the wintertime, you will see the composting time slows down a bit due to the weather change, but during the warmer months, the process gets expedited.  
We recently started to explore using earth worms for our composting (vermicomposting). We had about 250 worms in a plastic bin in our garage recently, but once we realized the worm tea created needed to be attended to and drained, this worm composter will be our next avenue to explore. 
I’m raising my own family, and as the years go by, I have thought often what changes and habits that I personally CAN do in my family life in order to effect some change on our world…… and hopefully create a better future for my children, as well as the earth!  Seems composting our family’s organic waste is such a simple habit to begin and maintain!  It only takes one mindful act to help lessen our footprint on our earth to create great change…why not start taking better steps in this direction? 
Kristin Mann is a mother of two young boys and owns and instructs at her classical Pilates studio Mankind Pilates.   
www.mankindpilates.com 

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