How to Turn Compost in a Plastic Compost Bin

by Carolyn
(Colchester, CT)

I would like to buy a plastic compost bin, but it seems that turning the compost in one of these bins would be very difficult. Could you please comment? Are these bins really easy to use or not?

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Dec 26, 2011
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Plastic Compost Bin
by: Gardener Ed

I don't know what model you are considering; but on of the more popular models is the Earth Machine. For security from dogs and other animals, it can be attached to pressure treated plywood, a concrete slab, or spiked into the ground. To really turn the contents, remove the attachments, pry off the bin, set it along side and reload the contents.

All this is rather awkward. I prefer 2 inch by 4 inch, 12-1/2 gauge welded wire fencing about 3 to 4 feet high. One 50 foot roll will cost about as much as a plastic compost bin and you can make 3 to 4 compost rings out of it. Simply form the 3 or 4 equal length pieces (12 ft or 16 ft respectively) lengths into a cylindrical ring and lace the overlap with cord; kind of like lacing your shoes. These rings are sturdy, self-supporting, and will last a very long time.

The contents blend into the background so that it becomes almost invisible to your neighbors. It gets the most air circulation of any bin and can be easily unlaced and removed to turn the pile into the reassembled ring placed along side.

There is a picture of one somewhere on this site.

Happy composting.

Dec 26, 2011
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Photos of Wire Compost Bin System
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Ed, you're fast on the draw! I didn't even have time to post a reply, before you'd given some great advice and made your way back out to your garden. :) Thanks!

Carolyn, and anyone else who is interested, here is the photo Gardener Ed is referring to...


wire compost bin


Another explanation of his recommended wire-bin system can be found on our "vote for the best compost bin" page.

Carolyn, I don't have much to add to Ed's comments above, however, knowing exactly which plastic compost bin you were considering would be helpful. Otherwise, like Ed, I would guess that you're referring to the Earth Machine. If you are considering the Earth Machine, you may enjoy our review of it - Earth Machine Review.

Ed, I love your comment about the wire-bin system blending into it's surroundings. That's such an after-thought with most compost bins these days. Not to say that some bins aren't beautiful on their own, because they are; however, some bins are quite an eye sore. If your bin is aesthetically-pleasing, or even somewhat camouflaged (like the wire bins), it's just one more factor that encourages continuous backyard composting...and who knows, it may even spark your neighbor's interest too.

Now Ed, I'll go answer the questions you posted yesterday regarding mycorrhizal fungi and fruit trees.

Apr 27, 2012
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Sun Joe compost aerator
by: Anonymous

I have an Earth Machine compost bin and I use a Sun Joe Tumbleweed compost mate - the model with the yellow handle - to aerate my compost. It does a good job of turning the compost. I purchased mine online, but it seems like many big box stores may carry them as well. Another choice is the Yard Butler compost turner which I have no experience with, but based on its looks doesn't seem like it would do as good as a job as the Sun Joe model.

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