If you want to learn how to buy the best outdoor composting bin to add to your outdoor space, we’ll give you the background on what to look for in a product.
Even with the cold winters in Canada, many Canadians are avid gardeners who want to do their part for the environment by using a composter as part of their gardening plan.
And yes, you can continue to compost during the winter, which may actually speed up the process. So, that’s good news for Canadian gardeners and composters.
But before we get to the bins, let’s look at why it’s a good idea to compost.
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Why Is Composting Important?
Composting is important and valuable, not just for your personal benefits, but also because it’s good for the health of the planet. Composting:
- helps to reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfill.
- improves the soil’s quality and is a good fertilizer, resulting in better food if you grow your own.
- can reduce the amount of water you use in your garden.
- helps control weeds and improves the aeration of the soil.
- helps reduce the cost of municipal resources.
- saves you money on costly fertilizers.
As you can see, composting has many benefits, not the least of which it helps you indulge in ecotherapy and build a stronger connection to the natural world.
One word of caution is to keep in mind that proper composting takes time and effort, and you don’t want to use compost in your garden if it isn’t completely ready.
Next, we’ll look at what types of composting bins are generally available.
Types of Outdoor Composters
When it comes to composting outdoors, you have three basic options to consider: an open compost pile, a static compost bin, or a rotating composter:
1. A Rotating or Tumbling Composter
A rotating or tumbling composter is a horizontal bin that usually sits on legs or wheels and has a convenient handle to turn the compost mixture regularly.
Easier to Turn
In theory, it’s easier than using a spade to turn the mixture manually. However, it can be harder to manipulate when the bin is full and if the bin is large.
Some of these rotating products have a double compartment that makes the load lighter and cuts down on the effort needed to turn it. Plus, the sides can alternate so that one side is ready when the other side is still processing.
The tumbling composting bins usually come with secure lids and ventilation like the static bins, so pests cannot gain access, and the circulating air will do its work.
These are the three main types of composting arrangements you can have outdoors. However, the open pile is much more suited to a rural environment with plenty of space and distance from any neighbors.
Here is a popular tumbling compost bin:
HOTFROG Tumbling Composter in Canada
The HOTFROG tumbling composter is a popular compost bin and is available in Canada. It’s said to have excellent aeration because you can turn the handle, plus it has vent holes and deep fins inside to break up material.
This model also has two compartments with secure lids, making it easier to turn, and allowing you to have 2 lots of compost processing at different stages.
The bin is constructed of sturdy BPA-free UV inhibited recycled polyethylene. Plus, it will not degrade in direct sunlight. The powder-painted galvanized steel frame is corrosion-resistant, meaning it should last for years, keeping it out of the landfill.
The HOTFROG tumbling compost bin makes the job of composting easier and is said to speed up the process. Plus, people claim that it is rodent-resistant and doesn’t crack in cold weather.
2. A Static Compost Bin
A static compost bin is basically a large container, usually black in color, with a lid that you place somewhere outdoors on your property. When you decide on the location keep in mind that you’ll need to access it frequently to add material.
Keep It Close to the House
Making trips to the compost bin is a real consideration during the Canadian winter. You can keep it close to the house or in the garage during the coldest months.
Use a Small Bin Inside
It’s also a good idea to save your kitchen scraps in a smaller container for a couple of days to save on necessary trips to the larger bin outside.
Another real concern with static outdoor compost bins is that it isn’t easy to turn the mixture or remove it. However, many newer products have built-in drawers and openings to make this part of the process easier.
A Secure Lid
The static bins usually have a secure lid to keep pests away from the compost, plus ventilation and/or a self-watering lid to make the job of getting the conditions right for a quality finished product.
3. An Open Compost Pile
If you go with an open compost pile that doesn’t require a bin, you still have to do basic care and maintenance. Generally, you add compostable things like leftover fruit and vegetable waste and biodegradable garden waste like grass clippings and leaves.
Brown and Green Material
You also need to add what is known as “brown” material such as wood chips, shredded paper, or straw to deal with too much odor from the “green” materials.
Turn It Regularly
You then regularly turn it over with a spade to aerate it and add water if needed to keep the decomposing going. Rain will also do the watering job naturally. Covering the pile helps keep heat and moisture in, aids the process, and keeps it from getting too soggy and wet.
Avoid Unpleasant Odor
When compost is ready to use, it is dark and rich looking, without any recognizable bit of what you originally added. It should also have a pleasant outdoorsy smell, but never like ammonia or sourness of rotted food. You should never add animal products to your pile.
A Bin Is Better
The outdoor compost pile is not really a bin. And the odor may be a problem if you live close to your neighbors. These piles are also a problem when they attract pests because you can’t keep them out with a secure lid—all reasons for buying a good compost bin.
Which Type of Outdoor Compost Bin Is Best?
Which type of compost bin you decide to go with will depend on your circumstances and what you’re looking for.
They come in a range of sizes, so you’ll want one that fits your needs. It’s also essential that you have adequate outdoor space if you’re going to compost outside.
We tend to feel that a tumbling composter is a better choice because they make the work of turning the pile easier. They are becoming a popular choice for beginners and those who want to speed up the composting process.
If you want to know what’s available in your area and have your questions answered about each specific brand, check out the available options at your local gardening center or hardware store.
The staff at these centers will be familiar with the available brands, the specific features, and what may best suit your needs.
It’s the appropriate way to may sure you get the best outdoor composting bin for your needs. Composting, like recycling, is another great way to reduce your environmental footprint.