Here you will find a list of frequently asked questions about Mantis Composters.
Is it OK to have pests in your compost pile?
No, you don’t want to have pests in your compost pile. Traditional piles can invite all sorts of unwanted pests. Food scraps, especially meat and fish, can attract rodents. Fruit will often attract bees and wasps. And, some materials will attract birds, especially during nesting times. One of the many advantages of the Mantis Compostumblers is that they are totally enclosed, virtually eliminating rodents, bees, and birds. So, you can compost more materials without the problems associated with “open” compost piles.
Can I use finished compost all year long?
Well-finished compost can be used at any time, in any season, and in any amount. There is no such thing as too much compost especially with you Mantis Composter.
What is the best temperature for composting?
Your compost should be between 50 and 65 °C, which will make for speedy composting.
If the temperature is lower, the pile will still decay but more slowly. If the temperature is too high, it may kill the beneficial microorganisms that help break down your compost (compost rarely gets too hot).
The Compost Thermometer will help you monitor the temperature in your compost chamber(s).
Can I cover my Composter during the winter?
Yes, if you are not adding materials to your Composter, you may wish to cover it with a composter cover.
Find your cover here.
What type of maintenance does a Compostumbler require?
A Mantis Compostumbler requires little maintenance.
After emptying finished compost from a chamber, rinse the inside thoroughly with a garden hose. Occasionally, check the breather screens in the doors to ensure they are not clogged.
At the beginning of each season, lubricate the axle rod guides with a wheel bearing-type grease, and check all screws and bolts for tightness.
Can I order replacement parts Mantis composters?
Replacement parts for Mantis composters can be ordered by phone or by visiting our Composter Parts page.
Will the composter work if you only put grass in it?
Yes, you can compost only grass, but not very efficiently. A better mix is 60% brown leaves and 40% green grass.
Another good addition to a new compost batch is compost activator, or good garden soil – both of which include the beneficial bacteria that speed up the decomposition process.
Can I add all of my grass clippings to the compost chamber?
Never add large quantities of grass clippings to the compost chamber. If they are fresh, the nitrogen ratio will be too high for the pile to decay.
If you want to use your grass clippings, add a little at a time and store the rest in garbage bags or in a small pile elsewhere until they turn brown. Then they can be used as a carbon source.
How often do I turn my compost?
Turn your Compostumbler once a day to properly aerate the material in the chamber. Make sure to turn at least four complete revolutions of the drum. This action aerates the material in the chamber and fluffs the contents. Proper aeration aids in maintaining proper moisture levels proper moisture means contents will not develop an ammonia or sulfur-like smell.
The mixture should feel like a wrung-out sponge. Use your Moisture Meter to test moisture levels. The reading should be between 4-7. The Moisture Meter is available here.
Is an activator required?
No. If you have a sufficient supply of high-Nitrogen “green” material (fresh grass, kitchen/garden waste, farm manure…)
you will not need to use activator to make compost within a couple of weeks. Our activator works as a replacement source of Nitrogen for times when you don’t have an available supply of those items. Our activator has a two year shelf life, so it can be purchased in advance and kept on hand for times when it is needed.
Can I compost in Winter?
Your composting season is effective when the outside temperatures are consistently 5 degrees or higher.
During colder months, your ComposTumbler should be emptied and cleaned out. The exception is our Back Porch model.
Because of its high-density plastic drum, material can be stored inside it during Winter.
What should I do with materials when my drum is full or not in use?
All materials (except grass) can be stored for future use. They can be stored in bags or a plastic trash can/bucket.
Why are you using galvanneal and not galvanized sheet metal?
Galvannealed sheet metal is coated with zinc on both sides using a continuous “hot dip” process. The zinc coating is harder than a regular galvanized coating and is more resistant to scratching and other damage. There is also an excellent bond formed between the paint and the surface of the coating since the paint can “mechanically lock” with the zinc-iron crystals on the surface, in addition to any chemical bonding. Compared to galvanize, galvanneal generally exhibits less undercutting corrosion beneath paint at exposed edges, scratches, or other breeches in the paint.
How long will my composter last?
All Mantis composter models have been designed to provide you with many years of compost. Our metal drums are non-toxic, powder-coated galvannealed steel that prevents rust and the frames are tubular steel for strength and support. Galvanneal is widely used in many outdoor commercial applications but as an unfortunate fact of nature nothing is absolutely rust-proof. Mantis uses the best possible material and double coating processes (paint over galvanneal) for our elements-facing outdoor products. For those customers looking for additional protection, we do offer a heavy-duty, weatherproof, vinyl cover for the Original, Compact and ComposT-Twin models. All plastic parts are made of high-density polyethylene. As with any piece of outdoor equipment, periodic care helps to get the maximum value from your purchase. With your ComposTumbler you will receive easy instructions for keeping your unit in tip-top shape.
What is the weight/size of the Compostumbler, can I move it around easily?
The Mantis Compostumblers come in four sizes. The smallest, the Back Porch, is on wheels and can be moved around the garden. The other three Mantis Compostumblers are on metal frames and need to be positioned where they are to stay from the onset. The sizes are as follows:
Back Porch – 37”/ 94cm wide x 31” / 79cm high x 26” / 66cm deep and hold 140 Litres, equivalent to 2 garden refuse sacks
Compact – 43” / 109cm wide x 42” / 107cm high x 33” / 84cm Deep and holds 335 Litres, equivalent to 4 garden refuse sacks
Original – 68” / 173cm wide x 50” / 127cm high x 40” / 102cm deep and holds 635 litres, equivalent to 8 garden refuse sacks
Twin – 65” / 165cm wide x 66” / 168cm high x 40” / 102cm deep and holds 350 Litres in each drum, totalling 700 Litres, equivalent to 9 garden refuse sacks