Composting is a science of scale. Organic material composts the most efficiently in confined, humid conditions. And most home gardeners simply cannot provide a large compost bin with enough material for it to generate enough heat to decompose effectively. The best small compost bins solve the problem of size by providing an enclosed area to keep temperatures optimal and providing just enough space to efficiently compost a small but steady stream of garden and kitchen waste.
The Simple Portable Plastic Compost Bin
Compost bins don't need to be complicated. A small, portable prefabricated plastic compost bin offers one of the best low-tech options for small-scale gardening. They require little to no assembly (you may have to snap on a lid depending on the model) and can be placed directly onto the soil for some added help from the neighborhood worms. Look for a model like The Cone Bin, which features a narrow top and wide bottom, speeding up the decomposition process by recycling air moisture.
A sectioned compost bin is the best option for home gardeners with a limited amount of organic material to work with. To accommodate low input, sectioned compost bins like the Earth-Maker Aerobic Composter feature removable shelves. The first shelf supports the top section, which is small enough to facilitate the quick decomposition of even the smallest amounts of organic material. Once the first section is full, simply remove the shelf and the compost drops into a larger section designed for older compost and then finally to the bottom section, where it will age until it is ready for your garden. Not only does the sectioned compost bin efficiently compost small amounts of organic material, but it prevents rich mature compost from mixing with the unfinished stuff that does not belong in your garden.
A small tumbler compost bin is the best option for a small gardener in a hurry. Tumbler compost bins basically consist of a mounted barrel and a handle to facilitate turning. When turned once every few days, organic material decomposes much faster than normal. In ideal conditions, compost time in a tumbler can be as short as two weeks whereas stationary models can take up to one year. Tumbler compost bins also make an ideal choice for home gardeners because they work best with easily decomposed matter like garden and kitchen waste. To further facilitate the process, add compost activator, which will speed composting along.