A lot of our customers often start asking us the same questions about composting around this time of year. One of the most common concerns we hear is that their Lifetime Composter is leaking.  Long story short, this is normal.  But, to really give you insight into why this is normal, AND what you can do with the leaking liquid, I've asked our Geekstyle blogger Joe to give you the scoop.  (For those of you who don't know, Joe the Web Guy is also known as Joe the Green Guy when he's not on the Lifetime clock - with his own website called PathToGreenerLiving.com where he gives tips for going green including how to use some of Lifetime's Lawn & Garden products.)

From Joe:

A lot of people have jumped on the home gardening band-wagon and are interested in starting to make their own compost. And why not? If you have a garden you have garden waste. That "waste" can be easily turned into nutrient rich compost. All you need is a square yard to heap up your trimmings, cut lawn, and debris left over from last year's harvest. Turn the pile a few times a month, and by next year you'll have some nice compost to use as fertilizer in your yard and garden.

Before we jump into our topic, I'd like to take a personal moment to give you a little history about why I'm writing this -- after all, I'm Lifetime's "web guy", not their "gardening expert".

I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to my Dad, who passed away earlier this summer. My Dad (pictured here) was born during the low-point of the Great Depression. Although only a small child, he remembered everything his parents had to do just to  put food on the table.Lawrence L. Damewood, Sr.

He learned to be frugal and make use of everything he could -- wasting little, reusing a lot.

Back then a garden wasn't a hobby, it was a vital part of life and contributed significantly to feeding the family. Fertilizer back then didn't come in a bag or sprayer bottle, it was manure from chickens, horses, and cows that was piled in a corner of the garden to age and break down before being used to side-dress the precious crops. It wasn't called "compost", nor were there composters as we know them today.

He taught me how to plant a garden (including his very non-traditional tomato planting method), and how to save all the pulled weeds, trimmings, and end-of-year "waste" for composting. So, it's with that context in mind that I'd like to share some thoughts on composting, and answer some common questions.

Many either don't like the idea of having a head of "trash" in their yard, or would like their compost sooner than later. For those people there are commercially available tumbling composters that get your pile off the ground, contain it, make the "turning" easier, and generally make your compost faster than you can from an old-fashioned pile.

We recently received a few questions from customers about water dripping out of their Lifetime composter and thought now, the beginning of the composting season, would be a great time to answer a few questions about moisture, drips, and introduce you to "compost tea".

Most tumbling composters, including those that Lifetime makes, are not water-tight, nor are they designed to be. Too much moisture in your mix will increase the likelihood of anaerobic decomposition and rot. Although the mix will break down in those conditions it’s usually much slower – and much more smelly. By not making the composter water-tight, any excess moisture can drip out of the bottom, reducing the chance of a stinky, slowly decomposing mix. The “drippings” are sometimes called “compost tea”, are VERY rich in nutrients, and can be used as a liquid fertilizer. It’s so rich that if you collect this “tea” you must dilute is 19:1 with water before you apply it as fertilizer or it may “burn” your plants.

A down-side of this compost tea is that it is dark brown and can stain whatever surface the composter is sitting on (which could be a problem if it’s a deck or patio). I use a flat, plastic container (weighted down with a brick) to catch these drippings. This saves my patio from staining and gives me the opportunity to make compost tea – reusing even the "waste" from the composting process. Dad would be proud.

- Joe the Green Guy