We’ve had a taste of spring in recent days, with temperatures becoming milder and the days getting longer. It is not too early to start thinking about the garden—cleaning up, determining what to plant and where. The snow may come again, but at this time of year, it rarely lasts for long. Your garden is getting ready for you, so get ready to garden!
It’s also not too early to think about composting. Of course, if you already have a composting system, you could have continued to put your kitchen scraps into it throughout the winter, along with any leaves that may still be hanging around. The breakdown of the pile will simply be slower in the cold temperatures. Things should start heating up now.
If you don’t yet have a composter, then you should know that the Melrose Department of Public Works is now taking orders for compost bins (and rain barrels). You can find the order form here. Pickup will take place on May 5.
There are many different options for composting, however, and if the top-loading model offered by DPW doesn’t suit your taste or fit your yard, you can choose among the offerings of multiple vendors.
There are composters for the yard and composting pails for the kitchen counter, to store kitchen scrap prior to transfer outdoors. The outdoor varieties include “tumblers,” which have a crank that allow you to rotate the contents for the proper aeration, and standing models that require you to turn the decomposing scrap with a pitchfork or with crank devices that look something like light pogo sticks with claws on the end. Yet another variety of outdoor composter involves a more open wire or wood plank design.
Indoor composters aren’t limited to the counter-top pail. If you have the space—and a few hundred dollars—you can purchase motorized, multi-gallon units that claim to produce usable compost in just hours. And for the really ambitious, worm composting in your basement can be fun and productive.
A site called The Spruce ranks the “top seven composters of 2018,” ranging in price from $20 for a kitchen composter to $419 for 70-gallon tumbler. Another site, ecokarma.com lists 15 top-rated bins and tumblers.
Here’s a list of other composter retailers offering models from multiple vendors: