Gardeners’ World Star Buy

At GGS, the Green Johanna has always been seen as a forward-thinking and innovative product when it comes to composting. So we are extremely pleased – and honoured – it has been recognised and awarded ‘Star Buy’ by Gardener’s World Magazine.
Mark Halford

Director, Great Green Systems

Gardens World Star Buy

Compost bins for small gardens

Is it possible to make high-quality compost in a small garden – Sue Fisher trials 10 bins to help you choose the best type for your space.

Small plant packed gardens benefit from plenty of nourishing compost, but when space is tight, choosing the most efficient and user-friendly compost bin is crucial. We trailed 10 types of bin
from November to August based upon suitability ion a tight space, capacity, size and design.

Even in a small garden, it is a good idea to choose the biggest bin you can, as it gets more difficult to make compost efficiently the smaller the bin gets. Our maximum trial size was 330lt,
with the smallest at 175lt. Nearly all the designs that met our size criteria were plastic.

We trialled each bin on a stand-alone basis following manufactures instructions and Royal Horticultural Society guidelines, turning compost once a month, design permitting.

Gardens World Star Buy


Dramatic differences emerged as the trial progressed. Overall static bins won over tumblers, and plastic was way ahead of wood. Generally, the smallest bins in the trial were less efficient and harder to use.

The tumblers, although fast, had a drawback: all except one were unable to take fresh waste while the previous full batch was cooking. Tumblers are good if you only have a hard surface, while bins are best for placing on soil or grass. The cheaper static bins performed very well, though it was the costlier models that won hands down – with compost bins, at least you get what you pay for.

What we tested for:

As well as recording how much usable compost was produced over a 10-month trial, we marked each bin out of 5 in each of the following categories:

Quality – how good the end product was
Speed – how fast each bin produced usable compost
Design -0 the ease with which the bin could be assembled
Access how easy it was to get the compost out
Quality – total number of trugs collected over 10 month period

Green Johanna result:

If I bought one bin, this would be it – especially as it takes cooked food waste, with a sturdy rat proof design. It is a little fiddly to build but a dream to use. The contents became steaming hot, produced rich, moist compost easily removed via not just one but two good sized hatches.

  • Quality 5 stars
  • Speed 4 stars
  • Design 4 stars
  • Access 5 stars
  • Total quantity 5 tub truggs
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