We've Moved

New Blog

Thank you for visiting The Compost Bin Blog. I've stopped updating this site but I'm going to keep it up for archive purposes.

If you're looking for my recent articles about Gardening, Cooking and more, please visit my new blog:

Compost Tumblers

Here is a list of the most popular compost tumblers on the market:
(according to Amazon - 08/19/09)

#1 - Achla CMP-05 Spinning Horizontal Composter
I find this hard to believe actually. It's not the cheapest tumbler out there (see #2) and it's not the most well known brand either. But I guess it's the fact that it looks easy to use and it's decent price make it very popular among people shopping to compost tumblers.

#2 - Envirocycle Composter
The Envirocycle Composter being on this list makes more sense to me. It's nice looking, doesn't take up a lot of space, easy to spin and has the lowest price on this list. And I think that's why this model is a very popular choice with school gardening programs.

#3 - Tumbleweed Composter

I don't know why it's called the tumbleweed composter since it doesn't really look like a tumbleweed. It's more of a garbage can that was skewed through the middle by an axle. Well, regardless of the name this thing mixes compost ingredients well. A slow spin will cause the contents to move from the top to the bottom and back again. The legs look a little flimsy though.

#4 - Back Porch Compost Tumbler
I can see why The Back Porch Compost Tumbler belongs on the back porch. It's ugly. It looks more like something you'd see at bingo night instead of in the garden. But regardless, it has a great reputation for making fast compost.

#5 - MANTIS® ComposT-Twin

At $499, I'm surprised that this one even made the list. It's the Cadillac of compost tumblers. If you want a big tumbler, that spins easily and you want it from a brand name that you can trust then this is it. I still can't get over the price but at least they offer free shipping, a money back guarantee, free activator and a Guide to Composting. It's not in my budget but it is on my wish list.

Musa Basjoo Banana

Now here's something that you don't see every day. A banana tree with little bananas on it in New Jersey.

I'm a big fan of the hardy banana plant, the musa basjoo and I have been growing them for years now. Every fall I dig them up, wrap them in newspapers, bubble wrap or burlap and overwinter them in my garage.

But this is the first time that I've ever gotten the plant to flower and actually make tiny little bananas. How cool is that?

What's even more interesting is that because of the Crazy June Hailstorm that we had here in my area, the plants lost all of their leaves and looked really beaten down most of the summer. They really are the smallest and have the fewest leaves since I bought the original plant years ago.

But maybe that stress forced the musa basjoo survival instincts to kick in and they tried to create some seeds. Well whatever the reason, it's pretty neat to have a banana tree with bananas. We don't have a long enough summer for them to become fully grown and I don't think the musa basjoo fruit is edible but I'll be watching these plants with great interest for the rest of the summer.

Rotating Composter

Have you been searching for a rotating composter that looks like a lunar lander? Well if you are then I've found exactly what you're looking for.

How cool looking is this thing? I'm sure you've seen typical compost tumblers that look like a big cylinder on it's side. Stuff goes in the top and you spin it around. Sounds boring right? Well if you want to make your composting much more exciting then you should try out this STC Green Ecomposter. I think that aliens might come down to your garden and rotate this bin for you.

It's made from recycled plastic which is nice and it's a pretty big composter. The dimensions are 32"x32"x31". I guess it's not quite a perfect sphere but it looks like it.

It's on the expensive side, coming in at over $200 but that's still less than the Urban Compost Tumbler which in my opinion is one of the best tumblers on the market.

And if you're into modding your compost bin then may I suggest getting some black and white plastic spray paint and turning this thing into a big soccer ball. My son would get a kick out of that (oooh, that one was bad). Either that or the lunar lander that I mentioned earlier. Even when you're not composting, this rotating composter will be fun for the whole family.

Garden Update

banana-tree-hail-damageHere’s a great gardening tidbit that you don’t often see in gardening books. Frozen ice balls falling from the sky for almost an hour are really not a good thing to happen to plants. So you should try to avoid that if you’d like to have a great garden. Unfortunately I was not able to take my own advice and as I’ve mentioned before, a freak June hailstorm in New Jersey left my vegetable garden shredded.

But here it is several weeks later and some plants have started to bounce back. Now don’t get me wrong, I still totally consider this year’s summer garden to be a disaster but all is not lost.

Usually around the 4th of July all my tomato and pepper plants are rocking. They would be full of flowers and really starting to reach for the top of the tomato cages or stakes or whatever I decide to use to keep them upright. This year, I’m just happy to have a few leaves on the plants. I figure the storm set me back about a month.

I knew that my perennial berry plants would be fine for next year but this years blueberries and blackberries are actually looking pretty good. The June bearing strawberries were cut short by a week or two but the plants have recovered nicely. I’m also lucky that the smaller ever bearing strawberry plants that I have on my patio were spared from the ice storm.

zucchini plantsAnd I’m really surprised that my zucchini and squash are growing nicely again and even flowering. I think I may have to grab some blossoms and make a nice omelet sometime soon. After the hailstorm these guys looked like they went through the garbage disposal. They’re really wasn’t much left. But I guess that having healthy roots planted with lots of compost was enough to keep them alive even though there were no leaves left. Good for you zucchini. I vote you as the comeback vegetable of the year.

The new rhubarb plants that I put in this spring are questionable. I was planning on letting them grow some deep healthy roots and not harvest any this season but the hailstorm decided it wanted some rhubarb and broke a bunch of stalks off for me.

Other than that, I’ve got tons of hostas that look like an army of slugs had their way with them. But hostas really are bulletproof. By the end of the month most of the ripped leaves should be replaced with new ones, so no worries there.

And the same goes with all of my hardy banana plants. Oh they look awful right now but given some time and perhaps a few doses of compost tea, new shoots should start outnumbering the tattered confetti like leaves that now have the majority.

So that’s where I am right now in the garden. I also bought a few seedlings to fill in some of the vast expanses of emptiness in the garden that I’m not used to having in July. Things could have been a lot worse so I’m thankful that I’ll still get a chance to enjoy a garden fresh tomato sometime this summer. Hey it might not be until August but I’m not better late than never.

Growing Kohlrabi

Kohl rabiImage via Wikipedia

Since I’ve got a lot of free space in the vegetable garden lately, I’ve been on the look out for something interesting to try growing. Sometimes I’ll go to the store to buy tiki torch fuel and I wind up coming home with a new plant. That’s exactly what happened this week and now I’m going to try growing kohlrabi.

Kohlrabi definitely seems like an interesting vegetable to try growing. So what exactly is Kohlrabi? Kohlrabi is also known as a German turnip. It doesn’t taste like a turnip though. People say it has a taste that sort of is a cross between a broccoli stem and an apple. I think technically the vegetable is related to cabbage but it must be a third cousin or something because I just don’t see the family resemblance.

I planted them a few feet apart but only because of all that space in the vegetable garden that I’ve mentioned before. You can put them a lot closer together if you’re short on space. The rest of the planting instructions are pretty typical, well drained soil, amended with a lot of compost, heavy feeder.

growing kohlrabiSo what can I do with this Kohlrabi? That’s a good question. I’ve looked up some recipes to try and they seem pretty simple. You can eat it cooked or raw. You can fry or grill kohlrabi with garlic and oil but that’s not very exciting. You can cook and old shoe with garlic and oil and it’ll still taste good. I also found some coleslaw recipes that use kohlrabi instead of cabbage. That sounds good. I’ll definitely give that one a shot.

Well I hope to be able to try these recipes, but that depends if the plants don’t get eaten by a woodchuck or get bombed with several inches of hail. It’s been a weird gardening season so far but hopefully I’ll be able to remember it as the first season that I grew kohlrabi.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Garden Damage

Well here it is, the middle of June and I don't have a vegetable garden anymore. The day before the hail storm in New Jersey, I had tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, rhubarb, corn and more but now I have nothing but shredded wheat.

It's really amazing how a bad hail storm can destroy a garden. I was so worried about the woodchucks eating my plants that I never considered that I should worry about ice falling from the sky.

Its definitely too late to start over using seeds. I may pick up a few tomato plants at the nursery just so that I can get something from the summer garden. But mostly I'm just going to move on and focus on planning the late summer/fall garden. There's lots of great cool season crops and root veggies that I've been meaning to try.

Well I'll start planning it once I clean up this mess.

June Hailstorm

Just when I think I've got the yard word under control mother nature decides that there's a lot more to do. Northern New Jersey was pummeled by a freak hailstorm yesterday that not only left several inches of ice on the ground but also shredded all of my plants and trees.

I took these pictures 4 hours after the storm when I got home from work and you can still see the ice in my yard. It was really weird to be outside in June and be able to see your frozen breath and we usually don't have ice on the pool toys.

Looks like I'm going to be pretty busy with the clean up for the next few days. Check out this local news video for more on this crazy weather.

Mandatory Composting

San Francisco's RecyclablesImage by Walter Parenteau via Flickr

San Francisco recently approved the most aggressive recycling law in the United States. Residents will now be required to separate their garbage into three color-coded bins, blue for recycling, black for trash and green for composting. You read that right. San Francisco now has mandatory composting.

I think this is definitely a step in the right direction. Keeping this waste out of the landfill will cut down on landfill methane.

They’ve found that around 30 percent trash that goes to the landfill is compostable. But in landfill conditions, that waste is composting the same way it would in a home compost bin. In the landfill the piles don’t get to breath as much and the decomposition is Anaerobic. And the number one by-product of anaerobic decomposition is methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. If the production of methane can be reduced it would definitely help reduce our carbon footprint.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Compost Bin - Copyright 2006-2012 No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission. | Privacy Policy | Google