TX Organic Research Center



Containers For Compost
September 10, 2002
By Howard Garrett

Containers for composting are interesting and fun to play with but usually arenít necessary. People who manufacture composters donít appreciate that comment too much but itís the truth. They also restrict the volume of compost that can be made. Iíll explain the pros and cons of various compost containers right after this.

Compost is the most important tool in gardening, farming, and any other kind of plant growing. To create healthy soil, lots of compost is needed. Thatís the main reason Iím not a big proponent of compost bins. Most of these structures hold less than a half a cubic yard of raw materials. As raw organic materials turn into compost, the shrinkage is about 70%. Containers are useful if you have extremely small space, but if you have plenty of space compost containers are ill-advised. They donít hold enough volume. Better to pile the material on the ground in a free standing stack like the commercial companies do. The only container I sometimes use at home is hay bales. Alfalfa Ė not bermuda. A 2 or 3 sided structure of hay bales holds the moisture in the pile and at some point rots, falls in and becomes part of the compost. If you donít want to make compost at all Ė no problem Ė itís available commercially in bulk and in bags.


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