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Composting Bins

 

I bought a Lifetime 80 Gallon Compost Tumbler from Costco a year ago. Costco was selling it for around $100 dollars so it was definitely much more affordable than other bins of its size. After having used it for some time now, I can say with certainty that I will most likely not buy another premade composter. The tumbler turns easily when it’s empty, but don’t expect it to turn like it does in the video even when it’s only half full. Also, nasty compost tea leaks about of its seams so expect this to get on your hands and arms while you rotating the tumbler. The same tea will also drip and collect underneath the tank, and for whatever reason, the dogs love it so I am constantly having to shoo them away from it. Yuck! In addition, premade bins are found significantly lacking from a practicality standpoint. They take up valuable space and do not make it possible to have usable overhead space unless a supporting structure is built to surround it. Despite this tumbler being on the larger end of what’s commercially available. I found that 80 gallons didn’t even hold my lawn clippings from one mowing of my front and back yards. Most importantly, the premade bins just don’t lend themselves to being shoveled into or out of with a large shovel or pitchfork.

In contrast, I am really liking my cinderblock composting bins which also serve as a platform for my rain harvesting tanks. They are cheap to build. A four sided, 80 gallon cinderblock bin requires 30 8 in x 8 in x 16 in cinderblocks. At $1.25 each block, this 80 gallon bin costs just under $40 but will last forever, is easy to shovel into and out of, and will easily support overhead a 330 gallon rain tank weighing over 2,500 pounds. Also, if you run out of space, it’s very easy to build an adjacent bin. Since each additional bin shares a wall with the previous bin, it costs less than $30 for each additional bin. This got me thinking about building some larger cinderblock bins in my backyard to compost all the shrub and vine wood waste that the backyard is constantly generating as well as the yard waste that my neighbor is donating from his large yard. I searched around to see if anyone else has come to the conclusion that cinderblocks are the way to go and found these pics on the gardenweb.com forum of someone’s setup:

 

 

 

 

I also found this very useful literature on constructing different types of compost bins.

Composting System Designs

 

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