Types of Composters

The decomposition of kitchen scraps and yard waste within a confined area is referred to as composting. The different types of composters range from creating a simple compost heap in the corner of the garden to commercially available tumbler bins. The type of composter you select depends on the size of your garden, available space and how much effort you are able to put into maintaining the composting materials.

Basic Bins

A basic bin encloses the compost heap, but you need to manually turn the compost heap using a shovel. The compost heap is not entirely contained and you may need to keep it covered with a tarp to prevent pests and pets from getting into the materials. Basic bins include wire fencing with the ends clasped together with chain clips. The wire encircles the materials. Portable and inexpensive, this bin is suitable for small gardens. A more permanent structure may be built using cement block or bricks. Create a three-sided structure and build the compost heap within the confines of the walls.

Tumbler Composters

Compost heaps require turning, a process in which the materials are mixed together to bring in oxygen and speed up the decomposition process. The bin of a tumbler composter is mounted on either a vertical or horizontal axis. The bin is above ground level, allowing the bin to be rotated, usually by turning a handle. This results in the materials inside the bin getting mixed together. You don't need to handle the materials until you retrieve the compost for use in your garden.

Three Bin Composter

The decomposition process begins with yard waste and kitchen scraps. These organic materials break down and become compost but in the interim are neither waste products nor compost. In this stage, the addition of new materials may slow down the breakdown of the materials in the middle stage. With the three bin system, new materials are added to the first bin and allowed to break down for three to five weeks. The material is then moved to the middle bin and fresh materials are added to the first bin. As the material in the first bin breaks down, the contents of the second bin are moved to the third bin, and the materials in the first bin are moved to the second bin. The material in the third bin is now usable compost. This composter, once the process is started, is intended to create a consistent supply of compost. Three bin composters are available commercially, but if you have the skills you can build your own.

Keywords: types of composters, tumbler composters, three bin composter

About this Author

Shelly McRae resides in Phoenix, Ariz. Having earned her associate's degree from Glendale Community College with a major in graphic design and technical writing, she turned to online writing. Her credits include articles for 123Life.com, eHow.com and several non-commercial sites. Her work background also includes experience in the home improvement industry and hydroponic gardening.