A “review” of my old compost tumbler and my new Compost Sak.
Two years ago I bought a used compost tumbler, and unfortunately it did not work out for me. The biggest issue: rust.
A metal cylinder runs through the tumblers (which allows the bins to spin) and that began to rust very quickly after I started using it. I was concerned about the rust flaking into my compost and using the compost on my edibles, thereby introducing metals into my soil. Then the latches on the bins rusted to the point where I was unable to open and close my bins. So I officially needed to say goodbye to my tumbler.
I considered another tumbler, but they are quite expensive and I couldn’t look past the rusting issue. I am a huge fan of Smart Pots and when I found they make a Compost Sak, I was quickly convinced. I purchased two Compost Saks so I can use the same system that I did with the dual-bin tumbler. (That is, I’ll fill one sak until full. Then, while that sak finishes composting, I’ll begin filling the other sak.)
In researching the Compost Sak, my one concern was rodents. I have a small space so the compost pile is close to my house, so I really don’t want to lure any rodents to it. A determined rat could eat through the Compost Sak in no time. So I ended up encasing my Compost Saks in some hardware cloth with 1/2-inch openings. The hardware cloth is 3-ft wide, which is the height of the Compost Sak, and 10-ft long, which gives plenty of material to wrap around the entire sak with overlap. I wanted the hardware cloth to be a securely-closed cylinder around the sak so I took some time to close up the ends. The hardware cloth came rolled and was wrapped up with a single thread of galvanized steel wire. I used that to thread the ends close.
The other possible “issue” with the Compost Sak is that when it’s empty the sides flop down. It’s really not that big of a nuisance, and maybe as I use it more it will retain its shape better. For now, I use some binder clips and clip it to the hardware cloth to keep it open.
Note: While not pictured, I have additional hardware cloth to set on top of the saks, and I will be using it to build a lid for my Compost Saks.
I’m really happy with the size of the Compost Sak. Each sak can hold up to 100 gallons, which is significantly more than my tumbler (where each bin could only hold 40 gallons). This increased size will not only fulfill my gardening needs more, but will also (hopefully) speed up my composting. One issue I had with the tumbler system was that my compost wasn’t getting hot enough and was taking a long time to break down. I’m sure a lot of that was because of me and my lack of experience, but I also think the bin system was just too small. I’ve done some research and found that some recommend a compost pile be a minimum of 7 cu-ft, noting that bigger is better. My old tumbler was 5 cu-ft. My new Compost Sak is 13 cu-ft – a considerable improvement!
I also love how the Compost Sak is a breathable fabric. It helps to provide my compost pile with oxygen and it makes it easier to control the moisture. While the fabric used in the Compost Sak isn’t the same fabric used in the Smart Pot, given they are both made by the same company and my Smart Pots have lasted me years with practically no sign of wear or tear, I feel confident that the Compost Sak will last for several years!