today was’ ‘empty one composter and close up the other’ day.   We all make our own choices for how to compost, and barrels were my choice for a number of reasons.  This being Arizona, keeping an open compost pile moist can be tough.  and who wants to be out there in 100F + heat turning the pile to keep the moisture levels even?  know from experience that an open compost pile of any sort, even if in a pallet bin, attracts insects and small critters.  and that all contributes to the compost action.  But we don’t necessarily want our critters chasing those small critters and get stung by a scorpion?  and small critters attract their hunters, which out here can be the very welcome gopher snake, but also the uneasy tempered western diamondback or the even nastier tempered mojave rattler!  and they also bring in the coyotes and bobcats.  Neither of which I’m keen to have in my yard, and know my neighbors wouldn’t appreciate it much either.  They are around quite enough as it is, without them considering my backyard hunting territory!

IMG_0064 (1024x768)The small block composter is very efficient, building up sometimes TOO MUCH heat!  its also difficult to turn when it gets full, and being low to the ground means embracing the barrel to turn it, which is often fun as the underside becomes home for black widows, scorpions, roaches, fire ants and other fun creatures.  to wet it, one has to open the top completely.   On the plus side, it seems to be holding up well to the AZ sun.  More modern versions of this collect compost tea in the base, but they weren’t making that version back when this one was purchased.  The big metal barrel has a crank and the openings on the lid and on the side make it easy to add water if necessary and turn it.  On the minus side, have already had to replace the metal panels.  Since it came with a 5 year warranty, that was “free”.  next round will not be.  Trying to be much more careful how I use the shovel when emptying the barrel.

IMG_0065 (1024x768)pretty full, and right now collecting the items from the other composter that need a little more work.  WITHOUT insects and worms, the composting process is uneven and some materials need more than other.

IMG_0066 (1024x768) and old garbage can with screen as I empty one composter

IMG_0067 (1024x768)inside the big barrel composter.  am about 1/2 way through the emptying process and will leave some dirt in there to facilitate the next round. being end September, it is getting to be time to pull the plants and needed space to put them

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