In an effort to assist our dedicated followers in their endeavors to recycle all their plant waste we have decided to offer our opinion of one compost aerator.
Anyone who has tried to engage in standard aerobic composting likely knows that it can be tiresome to say the least. First there's all the collecting and piling of the proper items and then finding a way to house them so it doesn't look like a huge mess and finally there's the difficulty of turning it all so that the happy little microbes that are eating all our junk can breath and reproduce at break-neck speed creating that wonderful heated compost pile that helps kill off unwanted weed seeds while creating black gold in the process. There are lot's of turning methods out there from the pitchfork method with it's back breaking "lift and flop", to the crank and roll compost tumblers with their "I don't need to eat this week" price tags. Well folks, have I got good news for you! This summer we purchased an incredibly affordable compost aerator from http://www.gardeners.com/. This thing is awesome! Judging by the photo on the website I thought I would receive a rather lightweight piece of bent metal tubing with a couple small wing nuts on the end and a handle on the side, what I received instead was a very durable piece of equipment. The main pole is composed of heavy duty 1 inch steel tubing with a right angle bent handle at the top as well as a short handle that bolts on to the side lower down the tube. Each handle has thick foam rubber grips that are really comfortable to use. At the business end, the tube is pinched closed and cut to a point for ease of penetration into the compost pile. Just above the point there are two pairs of "wings" each pair set to fold out on opposite sides of the pole making a + when open. The wings are just a bit wider than the pole and they are designed to fold up against the pole when thrust into the compost heap and then fold open when pulled out so that they will grab debris and fluff the pile allowing oxygen to reach the center.
This is now one of my favorite tools after just a couple months of use. The only problems I have had with it are 1) The detachable side handle becomes loose after repeated use, but I added a ten cent lock washer and now it's fine. 2) It can be difficult to lift it out when you reach the bottom of the heap if the material is long and fibrous like tall weeds that haven't been cut up before adding them to the pile. This is simple to fix also by simply cutting long debris into smaller pieces. If you want some aggression relief, you could purchase a $15-$20 machete from an army surplus store and chop the debris into smaller pieces. This however may cause some uncomfortable silence with your neighbors as they become concerned about the blade wielding maniac whacking away at defenseless vegetation in the backyard.