Last year we wrote an article about the top 5 most popular tumbling composters. We wrote this in part to help others find a good composter, but mostly because we wanted one to help with composting. You see, we also wrote a guide to composting that talked about all the different ways you can compost food scraps, and mentioned the “open compost heap.” We also mentioned they “could attract pests.”
Friends, they do attract pests. The open compost heap in our backyard quickly turned into an all-day all-night rat party, and despite an abundance of predators in the area, encouraging them to leave was difficult. We thought the open compost heap would be safe due to the abundance of eagles, hawks, coyotes, owls, possums and raccoons in the area, but they apparently have better food.
I got the composter so that I could continue to compost feed scraps, but without making it a free snack for rodents. I emailed different companies individually, and quizzed them on the sturdiness of their product and just how rat proof they might be.
Absolutely no one was willing to claim their composter was rat proof (obviously) but the one that sounded sturdiest was the Envirocyle. In June of last year, I received it, assembled it, and got to testing!
It turns out, that between our dogs and our chickens, most of our food waste actually doesn’t need to be composted. It took several months to get enough to half fill the composter. We filled the other half with partially composted chicken litter, and then let it compost.
The chicken litter did a lot to heat up the compost, and the black plastic also helped keep things hot inside. Sometimes when we opened it we could feel the burst of warmth coming out from the mixture. The waste broke down very quickly, and the result was…a disappointingly small lump of compost.
6 months worth of food scraps amount to about a quarter bag of compost, and while it’s great that I will never, ever run out of uses for my compost, it’s kinda disappointing that I don’t have enough output to fill my garden up with.
This isn’t the fault of the composter of course, and it’s good that our family has relatively little food waste. It’s just a bit disappointing that I might not be able to get all the compost my garden needs from food waste.
On the plus side, one big bonus to the Envirocycle is that the stand collects the drainage from the compost. This sounds gross, but it’s also one of the reasons I selected the Envirocycle. Those drippings are valuable compost tea, and it allows me to collect it in a bucket and water the plants with it as supplemental fertilizer.
Many composters don’t allow you to collect the compost tea, wasting a particularly valuable part of the process.
Easy to move
Since it’s round, moving the composter is a snap. When I needed the compost out, I simply rolled it off the stand, rolled it to where I wanted the compost, and shoveled it out. Nothing has broken since I got it, and the only problem I’ve had is it freezing shut during a winter storm. Again, not the fault of the composter.
Overall, this composter fit my needs very well. I plan to get a second one eventually so that I can let it finish in one composter while starting another, instead of letting it finish next to the composter while a new batch starts.
Also, nothing has gotten into the composter since getting it, and haven’t seen any rats. Yay!
We’ll update again when we actually test the compost out, but that won’t be for another 8 weeks.