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Composting kitchen scraps with leaves and other yard waste creates great mulch for your garden. Compost adds nutrients back into the soil and also helps the soil retain water. When you compost yard waste and kitchen scraps, it also reduces the amount of trash you put out on the curb. It’s a win, win situation.
You can compost by simply creating a compost pile. You’ll need to aerate it by turning it a couple of times a month and it will need moisture. So if you aren’t getting adequate rain to keep your compost pile moist, you might need to add water.
However, I wanted something that looked a bit nicer in the yard and didn’t attract so many animals. We’ve had raccoons digging in the compost pile. So last year, I purchased an Aerobin Composter. I’ve had it for about six months now, just starting it out in fall. This spring I was already able to harvest some nice compost from it.
Aerobin Composter Review
This composter is pretty big and can hold a lot of scraps and yard waste. However, our yard is quite large, so we keep two other compost piles for the bulk of leaves and other yard waste. We focus on putting in kitchen scraps mixed in with some yard waste in the Aerobin.
- It’s easy to access the mulch
- No need to turn the mulch to aerate it (it self-aerates)
- It’s attractive (well, it is more appealing than most composters)
- Animals can’t get into it
- Easy to assemble
- Quickly makes mulch (3-6 months depending on what you put in it and the outdoor temperature. Even in winter, mine produced compost)
- Low maintenance
- It’s sturdy
- It’s insulated which can increase the months it composts
- Very little odor, if any
- Produces lots of mulch in warm temps, slower during cold temps
- Hard to move after it’s put together
- Have to be careful when placing access panels back that they are firmly in place
- It’s pretty tall, making accessing anything on the inside from the top hard to do without a ladder
- It’s not cheap
Removable Side Access Doors
There are two access panels on the sides (or front and back, depending on how you place it) of the bin. They are very easy to remove making getting compost out of the bin very simple and easy. Putting them back on is relatively easy, though I have found mine falling off once or twice. The trick is to pay more attention when you put them back in place and make sure they are firmly in place.
When digging composted material out of the side panels, be careful not to hit the center aeration cone. It’s easy to do, so use a smaller hand shovel or narrow spade.
This bin is 29”x29”x47”. You’ll need to set it on a level (and slightly elevated) platform if you plan to get the compost tea from it. We set ours on concrete blocks to raise it off the ground. However, we didn’t get it level, but I wasn’t planning to try to drain the tea off anyway.
Recommendations and Tips
I recommend you put the Aerobin together pretty close to where you will permanently place it. It’s pretty unwieldy. If you have already put it together, use a dolly to get it where it’s going (but make sure it’s empty!)
Start out with some composted material in the bottom of the bin. This will help get your composter started. Then start adding your kitchen scraps (vegetable parts, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.) and yard waste to it.
If your compost starts to get too wet, add in some newspaper (not the shiny pages) and/or straw. Try to mix it in with your compost. If necessary, you might have to take out the composting material and start out with newspaper and then layer it in between compost material.
If you put weeds into your compost pile, like we do, make sure there aren’t any mature seeds on them or you’ll be spreading this around your yard when you use the mulch.
Oak leaves are acidic, but should be fine to compost. Chopping them up before adding them to your compost pile can speed up decomposition. Although pecan leaves have a lot of tannins in them, if you mix them in well with other materials, it should be fine to include them in your compost.
Check this interesting article out: 75 things you can compost, but thought you couldn’t. I wouldn’t try composting much of this stuff, but some of it was interesting.
Here’s a good extension article on what you can compost and what you should avoid adding to your bin.