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Old 08-01-2011, 01:34 PM
2,186 posts, read 8,598,864 times


My mother in law truly had a green thumb when it came to gardening. Coming from back east in a real covered wagon gave her a sense of the earth and its provision for our needs. She could grow fruit and vegetables anywhere she lived, whether it is in a rural setting or a city lot.

All of her gardens had one thing in common, a compost pile. She would separate her kitchen scraps and used all her garden trimmings to make the richest worm filled piles of compost. Consequently, when I decided to become a garden oriented retiree my thoughts turned to composting. Now I could do what my mother in law did and make a pile of compostables and turn it with a garden fork but no, we have come into the age of composting technology.

Composters come in a huge variety of designs, styles, and price ranges. If you start with the process as I did, all it will take is an ability to store the raw composting materials, have an ability to turn the mass over, and maintain a sufficient moisture level.

The Smith & Hawken Biostack Composter seemed to answer my needs, as it is a three tier "stack" manufactured from recycled black plastic. The color will allow for solar absorption of the suns rays and speed the process. You start with one tier and fill it with compostables. You set this on a slotted frame that keeps undesirables from coming up through the bottom for a snack. This is phase one of the process as you continue to add new material. The lid, which fits all three trays, is hinged in the middle so you open one side only to add compostables.

When the first tray is full, you place the second one on the ground and fill it up adding the third tray when the second is full. I would suggest that if you have an overabundance of veggies that you cut up any that are going to be compost, as they will compost much faster.

The Smith & Hawken Biostack Composter is not the most glamorous composter nor does it have a lot of bells and whistles such as automatic turnover but it is simple and does an excellent job for the home gardener. An added bonus is the feeling that you are returning something to the earth and that helps all of us.
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