To start composting, all you need are compostable materials, a designated spot for your compost, a way to turn it or aerate it, and a way to manage the moisture levels. You can use common gardening tools to help you maintain your compost without a lot of extra expense. However, some tools can greatly improve your results and your experience. Let’s look at some common composting tools.
A bucket. If you don’t have a way to collect your scraps, they are more likely to end up in the trash instead of your compost. Examples include a plain food-grade plastic bucket, a designated compost garbage bin, or a countertop compost pail.
Gloves. These are essential. It’s important to keep your hands protected, especially when you’re dealing with food scraps and decomposing materials.
Garden hose or watering can. If your compost gets too dry, you can easily add some needed moisture.
Wheelbarrow. Although you can compost without one, a wheelbarrow is good for hauling large quantities of compostables to the composting area and for hauling finished compost to the garden. It’s especially helpful for larger gardens and yards and for large quantities of compost.
Pitchfork or shovel. These make quick work of harvesting and moving finished compost.
Hand trowel or hand cultivator. These handheld tools help you work food scraps into your pile easily.
Rake. You’ll be using this for collecting dead leaves in the fall and grass clippings. A rake is also useful for applying finished compost to lawns.
Aerator or turner. Turning your compost adds necessary oxygen, which keeps the microorganisms in your compost healthy and active. Your pitchfork or shovel can do this job, or you can buy a tool designed to make this task quick and easy.
Compost bin. A compost bin is just a container for composting in, and you can make your own or buy one. Composting in a bin helps keep the area neat and speeds up the process of decomposition. In addition, a bin with a lid is a great way to keep vermin and pets out of the pile.
Compost tumbler. This is a rotating compost bin. Again, you can buy your own or make one yourself. These have the advantage of being easy to turn, which aerates your compost. It helps to keep bad odors under control and manage moisture levels. It accelerates the decomposition process even more by making sure that your materials are well mixed.
Compost thermometers. These let you know how hot your compost is. For most of us, these fall in the “nice to have” category, but you can also tell your compost is heating up by keeping an eye on it. However, if you’re composting anything that needs to stay at a specific temperature for a prolonged time for safety reasons, then a thermometer is essential.
Compost sifters. This is a nice item to have that can help to remove large pieces that haven’t completely broken down from your finished compost.