When it comes to breaking down organic waste, people are left with two options – either to use a worm farm/worm bins or a compost tumbler.
Both methods are effective and they have their way of degrading organic waste in no time.
However, and as it is with humans, there will always be a spectrum or sides to be on when it comes to choosing the best way to do things.
So, if you’re thinking of starting composting and you do not know the best option to pick from, then this article will hep shed some light.
We will talk extensively about the two popular composting methods you can choose to start your composting process.
What are the Main Differences Between a Worm Farm and a Compost Tumbler?
Let’s straight to the point. The two composting methods go head-on!
But what is a comparison worth if you do not fully understand the agenda of both contenders?
So, before we go on, we’ll give a short and detailed description of what a worm farm and compost bin are.
What is a worm farm?
A worm farm is what it sounds like – using worms to break down organic waste.
This method involves putting worms in an enclosed worm bin or bucket (or an even bigger bed in the case of commercial worm bins) while mimicking their natural habitat with amendments, bedding, soil, regulated environmental conditions, and all other composting materials.
The process is also known as vermicomposting.
- Composting is faster.
- Effective in recycling leftovers.
- It is a composting process that follows the natural process.
- Worm castings help to improve the fertility of the soil.
- You Can Compost Indoors and outdoors.
- It is an odorless process.
- Non-toxic and safe for the environment.
- It is an efficient way to reduce household waste and produce nutrient-rich fertilizer for the garden.
- Breaks down any organic material in the nick of time.
- If it isn’t done right, you may experience odor issues.
- High maintenance as you have to keep track of their feeding habits to know when you’ll add new kitchen scraps or garden waste.
- You may have pest and pathogen problems.
- Harvesting the fertile soil while trying to separate the worms can be tedious and time-consuming.
What are compost tumblers?
Compost tumblers are sealed containers that help to break down and compost organic matter including food waste like vegetable scraps and grass clippings from your compost pile..without the use of worms.
It is a simple and easier composting process.
The content of the compost tumbler can be mixed by rotating.
- It is easy to turn/mix.
- It doesn’t allow room for critters.
- Looks attractive and appealing.
- Produces minimal odor.
- It is easy to use.
- Saves time.
- Helps in the sustainability of the environment.
- The composting space in the tumbler fills up quickly sealing up chances to add more organic waste.
- It is not suitable for worms as they will eventually die as a result of the heat and lack of oxygen.
- They tend to be cumbersome.
- They also attract insects to your compost heap and food scraps.
Here are the key difference when looking at compost bins vs worm bins
The first difference we’ll be considering is the purpose that each composting method serves.
The worm farm, on one hand, is a process of keeping worms in a confined space (container, bed or bin) while supplying them with enough organic waste to break down and eventually produce worm castings that are beneficial to the soil.
On the other hand, using a compost tumbler involves keeping organic waste in turnable containers for beneficial microorganisms to turn into fertilizer.
2. Decomposing process
For worm farms, worms are used to break down organic materials aerobically (with oxygen) while with compost tumblers, microorganisms do the job anaerobically (without oxygen) to provide a usable and finished compost pile.
It will take a worm farm a time of 2-4 months to turnout rich fertilizer, while a compost tumbler takes about 4 months and more to achieve this result.
When using a composting bin, you can add ingredients like citrus and onion.
However, you can’t add any of the above to worm bins because they are harmful in a worm bin composter and too much acid is present in them for worms to survive.
5. Indoors vs Outdoors
You can carry out composting with a tumbling composter both outside and inside.
You can also build your worm bins both indoors and outdoors.
This is a stale mate but the only thing you’ll need to consider is the temperate for both indoors and outdoor bins if you’re going the worm composting route.
Worms are sensitive to temperature in their composting bins, so this could add an extra layer of difficulty
As we just mentioned, the worm farm generally operates at a cool temperature of around 18 – 25 degrees celcius depending on the species of worms inside.
While the compost tumbler system is a rather hot one with higher temperatures, but there are no live things inside to consider.
What Is Better: Worm Farm or a Compost Tumbler Bin?
To answer the big question, we will leave it in your hands to do so.
We have done our job of weighing the pros and cons of both decomposing processes now, the ball is in your court to pick which one will suit your budget and needs.
If you can afford and prefer decomposing outdoors at a large scale, then you should go for the worm bin or large scale worm farm over the compost tumbler.
However, if you prefer an easy, more hands of approach to produce usable compost from your yard waste, food scraps, coffee grounds, plant waste, veggie scraps and more, then go with the tumbler composting system.
Is Compost Better than Worm Castings (Vermicompost)?
Worm castings aka Vermicomposting, are a better option when compared to regular composting.
This is because the castings contain primary plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium or N-P-K) and a couple of secondary nutrients and micronutrients to provide nutrient rich soil.
The nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in worm castings are higher than the ones you’ll find in normal compost, making it a really high quality compost.
Is a Tumbling Compost Bin Better Than a Standard Compost Bin?
It depends, you can create compost with both but the tumbling compost bin will make your life a little easier.
Compost tumblers are often more durable and better built than standard compost bins.
Tumblers are built with more efficiency because of the load it has to carry when holding plenty of composting materials and the compost inside.
Either way, you shouldn’t have problems if you start composting with a standard, static composting bin since there aren’t many moving parts to a container!
This article has taken two popular decomposing methods to the comparison ring and evaluated their strong points and downsides as well.
And as it has been stated in the article, the one you feel will suit your needs should be adopted.
For a faster composting process with high quality, healthy compost, go for the worm composter.
For a more hands-off approach without the need to worry about what worms eat, the worm bedding, excess moisture, hot/cold climates etc then go for the tumbler.
The resulting compost won’t be as of high quality, but will require much less maintenance.
We hope this article has helped in your search for the best decomposing process. Have a blissful experience!