Composting is not a complicated process. People have been doing it for centuries successfully. Even though you can DIY everything you need, there are certainly many things available out there that can make the entire process more convenient and hassle-free. In this article, I have compiled a list of 20 accessories that can make composting easy.
1. Compost thermometer
The temperature of your composting pile is inarguably one of the most important indicators of its health. It can tell you how active it is, if it is moist or dry, are you turning it properly, is the ratio of greens and browns okay, how long will it take, etc.? Most people ignore the importance of this and wing it. From my experience, a lot of problems associated with composting can be traced back to unregulated temperature. Investing in a composting thermometer can save you from a lot of problems that can ruin your pile.
Price: You can get it online for around $20. There are, however, models that cost as low as $16 and as high as $120 and more
2. Compost moisture meter
Moisture is equally important to the temperature. Too little water content can make the pile dry and dehydrate the microorganisms. If it is too high, the water can restrict the airflow, and the pile can turn anaerobic at that moment. I hope you know what happens in an anaerobic pile (Hint: it smells!). You can estimate the moisture content by taking a handful of the pile and squeezing it to determine if it is sufficiently wet. Still, it is not always accurate, and some people may not be comfortable doing it. A moisture meter can make this easy and accurate for you. You can easily determine water levels in a different section of your composting bin and act accordingly.
Price – simple moisture meters start at $10, and the ones specially designed for composting are $20
3. Compost pH tester
Knowing your composting bin’s pH is important if you want your microbes and worms to be happy. If it is too acidic or too basic, the beneficial creatures in your pile can perish. Moreover, it can also affect the pH of the soil on which you are applying it. Some plants like grapes thrive only in a specific pH range.
Knowing the correct pH of your pile can direct you towards the corrective actions. You can either use a pH strip or a meter. However, I strongly recommend using a meter as they are not that different in costs, and a meter will allow you to reuse it multiple times and gauge different parts accurately.
Price – The cost of pH strips is $7, and a pH meter is $11
4. Compost bin
Composting bins are specially designed apparatus for composting. In comparison, there is nothing wrong with using a DIY version. A composting bin is perfect for people who don’t want to go through the hassle of building it themselves. Though there are many variations out there for a composting bin, there are two main types; standard bin and compost tumbler. A standard bin is a compartment with appropriate arrangements to retain moisture, temperature, and airflow, while a compost tumbler has a turning mechanism controlled by a handle. Compost tumblers are generally more expensive, but they make turning, one of the most troublesome parts of composting, super simple.
There are other specific designs for worm composting with several levels or trays. You can feed it at one level and collect processed compost at the other.
Price – Small 2.4 gallon bins start at $19 (there are smaller versions too, but they aren’t recommended), and you can get a big 246-gallon bin for $39. A good 18.5-gallon compost tumbler costs around $68
5. Compost bin liner
If you are particular about keeping your compost bin clean, you need some compost bin liners. Like the plastic bags you use in your trash cans to keep them clean, compost liners prevent spillage in your container. You can use plastic versions, but there are several biodegradable options out there that are so much better, and the plant will thank you for it!
Price: You can easily buy a pack of 100 compost for $14. If you ask me, it’s not a huge cost for a cleaner planet.
6. Rodent screen
Rodents are a menace for composting. They can completely ruin the entire process, and if you have worms, they will eat them as well. Several foods like meat, eggs, dairy, etc., attract rodents, and you should avoid adding those to your pile. Your bin is especially vulnerable if it is kept outside with its base on the ground.
A rodent screen is a cheap fix that prohibits the rodents from burrowing in and entering your compost bin. You can wrap it around the base and other vulnerable areas to secure them.
Price – A 30-foot screen-roll costs around $13
7. Compost starters and activators
Not all of us are patient enough to wait for days and weeks for the composting to begin naturally. For people like us, activators and starters come to rescue
These are usually a mixture of some beneficial microorganisms and desired nutrients that can jump-start the process. They are also helpful in breaking down some tough materials and also balance out the pH of the pile.
They are available in a form that you have to dissolve in water and apply to to the pile.
Price: You can get a bag of compost activators for $13. This bag is sufficient for 9 cubic feet of compost
8. Freezer storage bin
You cant add your scraps to your composting bin as fast as they are produced in your home. The composting bin has a limited capacity to process waste, and if you add too much too soon, it will start to smell.
You can use a countertop crock to store the scraps, but you might have to endure the smell and flies.
A compost freezer storage bin can take care of your waste until your bin is ready for it. You can even go for a holiday and find your scraps the way you left them.
Price – A 8.46 x 6.1 x 5.51 inches freezer bin costs around $15
9. Fruit fly trap
You might have noticed that even after properly emptying your crock, you can still see a lot of fruit flies hovering around. Fruit fly traps are an easy way to economically and gracefully solve this problem. Earlier, these traps used to be hideous that could completely spoil your kitchen decor, but now they come in attractive settings. Most of the time, they won’t even look like traps and rather little showpieces.
Price – A good set of indoor fruit fly traps costs $7.5. And you know what it looks like a pumpkin!
10. Carbon filters
If you clean your compost crocks daily, you wouldn’t need a carbon filter. However, if you do it intermittently, you should use a carbon filter. A carbon filter is an inexpensive piece of hardware that can keep your composting bin odor-free for a long time.
Carbon filters contain charcoal that curbs the foul odor.
They are available in different sizes, and you can easily find one suited for your bin size.
Price: A carbon filter pack can cost between $13-$16, and it can easily last you 2 years!
11. Coco fiber
Coco fibers are an excellent way to balance excess moisture levels in a composting bin. They also provide carbon to the microbes, which is essential for their energy requirements. Coco fibers generally come in the form of compressed discs that expand when they contact water. Coco fibers have high water retention capabilities that can prevent the pile from quickly drying up in the hot season.
Price – A bag of ten 80mm pellets costs around $17
12. Compost bucket or wheelbarrow
Once you have the finished product, you need to find a way to transport it to your plants or storage space. You can use a wheelbarrow if your composting bin is above the ground, and if it is on the ground, you can employ a bucket or a bin.
These provide a clean and convenient way to accomplish the task. They especially come in handy if you are producing large batches of compost. In some cases, you can even use a simple tarp.
Price – A good wheelbarrow will set you back $95, and a compost bucket starts at around $15
13. Biodegradable bags
Garden leaves are an essential component of a composting pile. They can add a good amount of nutrients and can also furnish water. However, the compost bin cant handle them all at once. Often we lack a convenient way to collect and store the garden clippings and waste a lot of them.
Biodegradable bags can easily solve this problem by providing a suitable alternative. They often come in two variants biodegradable bags and paper bags.
Price – The biodegradable variant costs $15 for a pack of 15 bags (30 gallons each). While paper bags cost $24 for a 15 bag pack of 30-gallon capacity
14. Compost sifters
Most people use compost in their gardens and farms without sifting. However, some people prefer a cleaner look, especially in their gardens. Finely sifted compost gives a more graceful look to the garden topsoil.
A sifter can also help you separate any pieces that failed to decompose or pieces of plastic that accidentally found their way into your bin.
Price – smaller sifters start at around $10, while larger and more robust ones can go all the way to $90
15. Scrap shredder
Smaller bits of scraps are easy for the worms and microbes to digest. Feeding tiny bits of waste can exponentially speed up your composting and provide you with a finer result. Often we are not comfortable using our regular blenders to dice the garbage, and there is nothing wrong with that.
A scrap shredder can make it easy for you to accomplish this. There are both electrical and manual variants out there. You can choose whatever feels best for you.
Price – An electric grinder costs around $50, while you can get a manual grinder at $30
16. Leaf collection tool
Dried leaves are an excellent source of nitrogen for the composting pile. However, it’s a chore to collect these leaves and put them in a bag. We often spend hours in our gardens with a pitchfork collecting leaves. But there are easier ways to do this that make it much faster. One such tool is the leaf scoop hand. Imagine it like a large hand gathering a lot of leaves in a single go. Other tools like leaf shredders are looking to grind those leaves into smaller bits before adding them to the composting pile.
Price – leaf scoops are priced between $13 – $30. Leaf shredders cost around $120
17. Compost Turning tools
A healthy composting pile needs regular turning. The central part of the composting bin has the maximum activity, and scraps present there decompose faster. When you turn the pile, you evenly distribute the scraps throughout the pile to decompose uniformly. The tuning also introduces the fresh air into the compost, preventing it from producing a bad smell.
If your pile is small in size, you don’t need a specific tool. However, if it is larger, a compost fork might come in handy. A compost fork looks like a hybrid between a pitchfork and a shovel. It greatly reduces the effort required in turning.
Price – A large heavy-duty compost fork costs around $80
18. Compost Aerator
A compost aerator is another tool you can use to introduce fresh air into your pile. A compost aerator is like a rod with wings in the end. When you insert it into the pile, it turns it up, and its motion aerates compost. Without aeration, your compost can turn anaerobic and produces ammonia which none likes.
Price – A 33 inches compost aerator costs around $34
19. Compost pails/crocks
Compost pails come in handy for everyday composting. They are small containers in which you can store a few day’s scraps. These are often air-tight and equipped with a carbon filter to keep your kitchen odorless. They help you save frequent trips to your composting pile. Keeping a pail near your countertop will keep you in tandem with the composting as you don’t have to do any additional work.
Price – A 2.4-gallon compost pails costs around $19
20. Worm bin blanket
Worms are very sensitive to temperature. They function best only in a narrow range. During winters, the temperature often drops below the optimal range and can kill the worms. While it’s important to place your worm bin in an area where the conditions are as close to the room temperature as possible but sometimes even that is not sufficient. You can make it easy for the worms by giving them a nice blanket. While you can use any blanket, but there are some designed specifically for this purpose.
Price – A worm blanket costs around $19
Accessories are by no means necessary. You can have great compost without using any of these accessories. However, using these can make the process much more convenient and less time-consuming.