Smarter, Faster, Thriftier Composting
Too busy or too lazy to compost? Cheat a little with these tools
Compost Tea Bags
As great as composting is, it's hardly fast. The DIY approach to a leaf bin will have you aerating, mixing, and monitoring the yield for up to a year before you can use it. Then it's gone in a scoop. If you're impatient or just don't have the backyard for traditional compost steps, let these tools help you bend the rules.
Compost Tea Bags (See image 1, left)
You've Got: Zero gumption to start an indoor bin.
Try: Compost tea bags. Prepackaged bags fit right in the cupboard. One steeped in a gallon of warm water makes enough brew to fertilize a slew of houseplants—for 4,000 square feet. About $10 for 12 bags;
Moisture Meter (image 2)
You've Got: A low tolerance for touching rotting matter.
Try: A moisture meter. Compost needs to be only as moist as a wrung-out sponge. But who wants to do a squeeze test? This meter, once it's calibrated, eliminates guesswork—and contaminated hands. About $100;
Red Worms (image 3)
You've Got: A slow-developing bin of kitchen scraps.
Try: Worms in the mix.
A pound of composting earthworms, called red worms, eat half a pound of food scraps daily, processing them quicker than decay alone. Their waste is the fertilizer. About $20 a pound;
Compact Tumbler (image 4)
You've Got: A small property and no shed.
Try: A compact tumbler.
Just 32 by 33 by 24 inches, it fits on a patio or in a small yard. And because the mix aerates as the bin tumbles, you skip a composting step. About $300; Garden Composter