It is time, I think, to unveil my super-duper, space-age, Lifetime 65 Gallon Composter. Yes, I bit the bullet, took the plunge, went for broke, jumped in at the deep end, and took one for the team by purchasing this hi-tech tumbling aerator in an effort to improve (decrease) my carbon footprint and to help me appear to be a gardener worth...whatever organic brownie points I can get. Good golly, Miss Molly, rotting vegetable material has gotten so complicated!
I had been eyeing this little gem, and other similar artificial composting bins in Sam's Club and in various gardening catalogues, for quite some time. I had weighed the benefits of tumbling versus "in-at-the-top-out-at-the-bottom composters" for some time and since I only infrequently and reluctantly turn my low-tech, toss-in-the-weeds garden compost pile, I became convinced that a tumbling composter would allow more frequent aeration of the material (it would be less work, anyway) and thus help me be a better composter. This plastic monstrosity, purchased at Sam's Club, had dropped to around $80.00 a month ago when I finally brought it home, so I guess I finally found the point where the price intersected with my basic Miserness. For gosh sakes, don't buy it at the manufacturer's link above, where the identical composter is listed for $169.99, nor on Amazon.com, where it was priced above $130.
This particular composter is designed with black, double-walled panels to absorb and retain heat, has an internal mixing bar that increases aeration of the material, and a large door to make it easy to get "stuff"in and out of. I don't know if it is the "best" available, and I am not an agent for the company, but it seemed to fit what I wanted. While many would deny that I could ever be mistaken for an accomplished composter, I do know a little about the theory, and so far all those embellishments sound okay to me. Even so, although the accompanying instructional material talks about finished compost in as little as a month, I'm not going to hold my breath. It is merely a compost tumbler, not a miracle catalyst that will turn a lazy gardener into a reincarnation of Jerome Irving Rodale.
In the past, Mrs. ProfessorRoush has been resistant to participating in the creation of compost because the standard compost pile in my garden is a long walk up and down a hill from the house. For that reason, I placed the new tumbler in a convenient spot about 20 feet from the back door in an effort to encourage Mrs. ProfessorRoush to add the kitchen peelings to it. Although she initially grumbled that it would smell and draw rodents and snakes, she finally agreed that the great Organic Gardening Gods would likely pleased by her sacrifice. Okay, I don't know, along with all the sighs and eye-rollings, maybe she just decided to humor her half-crazy husband. Anyway, I assured her that as long as she didn't add meat, eggs, grease, or our non-house-trained Italian Greyhound to the composter, it would not become a blight upon the entire household. And I take it as a sign of good will that she has since taken that first step of keeping most of the household vegetable and fruit peelings for me and telling me when they were ready to be walked the twenty feet outside and placed into the composter.
I have just one question remaining about the composter. How long, do you think, do I have to use it before the environmental benefits I gain will make up for all the plastic and aluminum and stainless steel composing it and also offset the fuel to ship it here from China? Just wondering when my carbon footprint karma will balance out?