Aerobin the Answer?

Dear Martin

We intend to purchase some effective form of composting and had thought of one of the tumbler composters until reading in the Harrod catalogue that the 400 litre Aerobin composter was the most effective form. 

I would be obliged to know if you had used it and whether you have found it to be as effective as is described in the catalogue. 

We have a garden and small woodland comprising approximately a third of an acre.
I look forward to your views.

Donald Povey

Dear Donald

Many thanks for your recent message. Although I’ve put many batches of compost through the Compostumblers, I’ve not actually seen the process through with the Aerobin – but I have studied the design and seen the build quality first hand in my role as the company horticulturist and photographer – and of course Master Composter!

I’d certainly put my backing behind the Aerobin if you’re looking to make compost relatively quickly with little effort. If I take the design features integral to its success individually, it should give you a better insight into the success of the product.

First up is the central lung which basically allows air to find its way into the decomposing material and negates the need to turn the contents. Adding plenty of egg boxes, scrunched up paper, cardboard, toilet and kitchen roll inserts and even small sticks and twigs will all help the air move around a heap as it breaks down; in fact, if you construct a traditional heap correctly using the materials I’ve just listed, you’ll have no need to turn it! However, there’s no question that the lung feature greatly helps air – an essential element of composting – into the core of the heap.

In my opinion, it’s the insulated bin which is the Aerobin’s greatest asset. I’ve yet to come across a composter so well engineered to retain heat and moisture, two more key ingredients for successful composting. Even the lid is insulated! This padding greatly increases the heap temperature once composting gets underway and allows a relatively quick turn round time (listed at 3-6 months in the downloadable Aerobin literature). The bin is also rodent proof; there’s a tray with a tap in the base for collecting the liquid which collects during the process and due to the insulation properties, composting can take place for longer throughout the year.

Moving on to tumbling composters and their main asset is the rate at which they can create useable compost – 2 weeks is often claimed in the case of the Compostumblers but this is very optimistic! Perhaps if positioned in full sun, in the middle of summer and filled to bursting point, you might get a ‘rough’ compost out of a tumbler in that time span but I’d set my sights in months rather than weeks. Tumblers have the edge for me in speed over static bins but I can understand that regular daily turning might not be for everybody!                         

You can also create your own insulated tumbler by wrapping the drum in bubble insulation which although has some benefits, is not a patch on the insulation afforded to the Aerobin. Tumblers are certainly rodent proof but on the other hand, there’s no facility to drain off and collect liquid.

To briefly sum up, if you don’t want to tumble then the Aerobin is the best static compost bin design I’ve come across but remember that if you add little and often to a heap, you’ll increase the composting duration and in the case of a tumbler, the new material will be mixed in with the old when you harvest the compost. This means you’ll have to sieve the contents and put the stuff which hasn’t broken down sufficiently back in for another go. With a traditional access hatch at the base, the Aerobin doesn’t concern itself with this problem but both versions of composter will work at their peak when filled in one hit and closed up until the batch is mature.

And that’s about it! I hope the information above proves to be of help and helps you decide which composter you will rely on – and with the woodland your garden also includes, you’ve most likely got a ready-made source of leaf mould! Try our leaf cage as leaves break down slowly through the action of fungi rather than the faster acting bacteria and microbes found in a compost bin.

Thanks again for your enquiry and season’s greetings