Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Testing Compost Tumblers

Testing Compost Tumblers composting tumblers

Testing Compost Tumblers

You have often seen the advertisements: "You can now have dark, wealthy compost in a couple of days!" How much of an appealing message. Regardless of whether you grow flowers, veggies, herbal treatments or houseplants, compost is "black gold" within the garden. We not have enough, and should not allow it to be quick enough. Compost tumblers, the advertisements say, can provide us a stable supply every few days.

Designed so that you can crank, turn or roll the container to show and aerate the compost, tumblers are available in several dimensions.

Prior to runing out and purchase one, however, remember that individuals head lines are advertising hyperbole at the best. Within our tests, tumblers didn't produce finished compost any quicker than a properly-handled compost bin or open pile.

To be certain, the elements seem to be composting faster because you'll probably turn the contents more frequently inside a tumbler, thus presenting air — among the four vital elements (others being nitrogen, carbon and water) — that's essential to turn vegetable matter into compost. But when you build a wide open pile exactly the same size like a tumbler's capacity, make use of the same elements both in and switch outdoors pile if you rotate the tumbler, they'll produce compost within the same general time period. So, why wouldn't you purchase a compost tumbler?

Testing Compost Tumblers compos tumbler
Last summer time we carried out a area test of numerous compost tumblers versus open compost piles. Although the majority of us at MOTHER use cold composting techniques (replacing here we are at the job of maintaining a warm pile), we went a warm pile like a control.

Under our environment conditions, both open (hot) pile control and also the tumblers produced wealthy, finished compost within 10 days — far in the fourteen days a few of the producers claim. The tumblers were certainly simpler to make use of than turning a wide open pile having a pitchfork, but they didn't substantially boost the speed of production when in comparison to some correctly handled open pile. Easy turning is most likely the primary benefit tumblers offer, but because you will see below, many are simpler to show than the others.

Even though the decomposition time isn't elevated, compost tumblers will have advantages additionally to help ease of turning. Generally, they're clean, neat, inconspicuous, pest-resistant and odor-free. Due to this, tumblers frequently may be used in urban and suburban areas, where local laws and regulations or limited covenants may stop open compost piles.

One enjoyable surprise throughout the testing, with what switched to be considered a drought year, could be that the enclosed tumblers maintained moisture much better than outdoors pile, which needed to be watered frequently.

Compost Tumbler Styles

Compost Tumbler Styles composting tumblers

Compost Tumbler Styles

Compost tumblers fall under four general groups according to their construction:

Crank-operated drums. A flat mounted drum rests on the elevated framework. A crank set up allows you switch the drum easily, as the internal baffles help mix the types of materials, adding air.

Since the drums are elevated relatively high, draining them is straightforward. Basically push a wheelbarrow underneath the drum, squeeze door and open it up. Compost flows into the wheelbarrow.

This kind of tumbler has a tendency to cost about two times around other kinds. But, just like other things, you receive that which you purchase. Within this situation, you trade money for easy operation.

The Mantis ComposTwin and also the ComposTumbler are good examples of the design the previous includes a double drum and also the latter includes a single drum (obtainable in two dimensions).

Center-axle drums. A up and down mounted drum rotates around a main, horizontal axle based on a wood, metal or PVC frame. Operation is usually easy, particularly using the appliances have doorways on finishes.

The central axle functions to interrupt up and blend the types of materials. Many of these tumblers are mounted low down, however, so draining them could be a chore unless of course you've got a low-boy wheelbarrow which happens to fit under them.

The Urban Compost Tumbler (UCT) and also the Tumbleweed are this kind.

Compost Tumbler Styles compos tumbler
Base moving drums. A flat set up drum comes on the ground-level base. A number of them really have paint rollers, while some have molded rounded suggests suspend the drum and allow it to rotate.

Clearly, the tumblers with paint rollers are simpler to show. To make rotating simpler, a number of this style have steps molded in to the body, so that you can make use of your ft and legs to show them, thus theoretically reducing back strain.

Since the base moving tumblers virtually sit on the floor, draining them could be awkward. You need to shovel the compost out — through relatively small openings — instead of flowing it.

Usual for this design would be the Envirocycle, the Step-lower Composter and also the EZ Composter.

Roll-Around Sphere Compost Tumblers. They are giant molded angular balls that you simply fill with composting material after which roll around your yard. The concept is initially intriguing used, however, they have a tendency to he probably the most awkward to make use of and the most challenging to empty.

Roll-around composters aren't actually round, but they are faceted just like a geodesic dome. Consequently, they merely roll on which could be their equator. And, rather than moving just like a snowball, they swing left or in sharp arcs.

The heavier they're loaded, the less control you've.

The Bio Orb and also the Large Batch Composter are good examples of the style.

Compost Tumbler Operating Factor

Compost Tumbler Operating Factor composting tumblers

Compost Tumbler Operating Factor

Whichever unit you select, you should know of certain operational factors:

1) Ignore recommendations to make use of compost accelerators. About 50 % the producers still recommend this practice, yet comprehensives research has proven that such chemicals don't have any significant impact on the composting process.

2) The proportion of eco-friendly material to brown is much more essential in a shut tumbler compared to a wide open pile. If you do not add a minimum of 40 % browns, you'll finish track of a slimy, smelly mess rather than compost.

If little else can be obtained, have a bag of leaves or perhaps a bale of hay handy and employ it as essential to keep up with the balance. Generally where customers have reported poor results, it works out they've been adding only grass cuttings and kitchen scraps towards the unit.

Compost Tumbler Operating Factor composting tumblers
3) All tumblers are pest-proof to rats, dogs along with other creatures — to not bugs. Whenever you open a tumbler, be ready for a cloud of gnats to emerge. The truth is, the gnats hover over open compost piles, but you're less conscious of them since you don't encounter them in mass.

4) Monitor the moisture content. Tumblers retain moisture letter than open piles, so you don't have to add much. Usually, grass cuttings alone provide ample moisture.

Your working pile should seem like a clamp sponge.

Whether it's wetter than that, leave the doorway open some time therefore it can dry up. From time to time you might want to add a tiny bit of water. If that's the case, add a maximum of just one cup at any given time, and make certain to tumble the contents after each addition.

5) Air is vital towards the composting process. Periodically check to guarantee the vents inside your composter weren't clogged by organic material. If you feel this mixture is not getting enough air, rotate tile tumblers more often.

Compost Tumbler Features Pros and Cons

Compost Tumbler Features Pros and Cons compost tumblers

Compost Tumbler Features: Benefits and drawbacks

After you have made the decision which type of tumbler you would like, consider the specific options that come with each. It is the small things that may do or die a design.

For example, compare the Envirocycle towards the EZ Composter. The previous includes a hinged door. The second includes a round hatch with carefully threaded screws.

Consequently, loading and unloading the Envirocycle is substantially simpler than loading and unloading the EZ Composter, with a hatch that's hard to screw lower even if your unit is totally new, not to mention after grime and debris clog the threads.

Among center-axle types, some, like the Tumbleweed, open at both finishes, while some, like the Urban compost Tumbler, open only atone finish. Getting openings on finishes makes loading and unloading simpler. However, the additional ventilation from the UCT's patented core-oygenation system, which precludes getting both finishes open, might he well worth the trade-off.

Capacity is also an problem. Many models are available in several size. In the beginning blush, the bigger size appears to create sense since it produces more compost within the equivalent time like a more compact one.

Compost Tumbler Features Pros and Cons compos tumbler
However the bigger one may also he heavier and much more hard to operate.

There's another facet of ability to consider. Composting speed is really a purpose of the final products to he added. That's, you will not i believe load of compost unless of course you've include a full load of organic material. This does not mean you cannot add material just a little in a tune.

What it really entails, however, is the fact that "time for you to completion" is measured from all of the individuals small additions.

Due to this, you might want to have several unit. Begin by completely filling one with a combination of brown and eco-friendly compost material. Good examples of brown material are fine mood chips, brown weeds, hay, leaves and kitchen scraps good examples of eco-friendly material are grass cuttings, eco-friendly garden cast-offs and manure.

That can be a batch "cooks," you are able to gradually fill another unit.

This is actually the idea behind the ComposTwin: You could have one bin filled and composting when you are adding fresh elements towards the second bin.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

What is a urban tumbler composting

How To Build a Homemade Compost Tumbler

I demonstrate how to build your own homemade compost tumbler in a really rough "how to" video.

1..... 45 gallon plastic drum ..... ($20)
2..... 2x6x10 boards .................. ($11.90)
1..... 1"x36" black iron pipe ...... ($9.93)
2..... 1" black iron caps ............. ($2.36)
2..... 1.25" plastic spacers ........ ($1.10)

For what ever reason there are two short clips in the middle that youTube doesn't upload. The audio remains but the video just pauses. I have no idea why, but apologize on behalf of YouTube and their slacker engineers and developers :)

what is compost tumbler.[read]

Compost Tumblers Are They Worth the Cost?

Some compost tumblers can cost up to $500. With an investment of that size you better be getting your money's worth. Don't worry though, we've put together a bunch of information to help in your buying decision. Who knows. we may just save you 500 bucks.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of compost tumbling, let's look at the basics.

What Does it Mean to "Tumble" Compost?

To "tumble" your compost simply means to turn your compost while it is inside some sort of closed container. These containers can range in both size and shape. There are compost tumblers that hold up to 12 cubic feet of material, whereas others can only hold 5-6 cubic feet of material (please note that these volumes are referring to raw uncomposted materials). Although most tumblers are purchased from a manufacturer, there are some great do-it-yourself plans on the net (see our compost tumbler plans section below).

There are three basic categories of compost tumbler:

  • Crank-operated - These tumblers usually consist of a horizontal drum fixed to a stationary frame. The drum is typically raised off the ground several feet. There is a long narrow pole positioned through the center of the drum, and a hand-crank sticking out of one end. Inside of the drum, this pole has paddles attached to it. Once filled, this type of tumbler is operated by rotating the hand-crank, and thus turns and aerates the compost ingredients within.

Crank-operated tumblers are usually double the price of other types of tumblers.

Examples of crank-operated tumblers include the Mantis ComposT-Twin and the ComposTumbler .

  • Center-axle - These tumblers are more like an over sized plastic pill capsule, and can be opened at one or both ends. These tumblers have a solid axle running through their center, and tend to sit vertically on this axis. Once filled, this tumbler is operated by flipping the drum end-over-end. When this flipping action occurs, the materials inside are sent from one end of the tumbler to the other. As the material flips, it is mixed and aerated as it passes over the center axle. Pretty ingenious, don't you think?

Center-axle tumblers usually range in price from $150-$250 US.

Examples of center-axle tumblers include the Urban Compost Tumbler and the Tumbleweed .

  • Base rolling - These tumblers consist of a horizontal drum that has been placed on top of rollers (similar to those found in the beer stores up in Canada). Compostable materials are added, and the drum is rotated on top of the rollers using your hands or your feet.

    Base rolling tumblers tend to cost less than the two types of tumblers mentioned above.

    All of the above tumblers are considered "drum" types, because the main composting container is in the shape of a drum. Usually, these types of tumblers are compared to sphere-shaped tumblers.


  • Sphere-shaped - These tumblers are quite primitive in design. Basically, you fill a large plastic sphere with your compost ingredients and roll it around your yard. Unfortunately, these spheres are not completely round and tend to roll in non-linear patterns. The sphere that we tested, rolled directly on top of our kale transplants. needless to say, it was a very sad day.
    Sphere-shaped tumblers typically range in price from $75-$200 US.

    An example of a sphere-shaped tumbler is the Bio-Orb Monster Compost Bin.

    Are Compost Tumblers Worth the Cost?

    The answer is that it all depends on your individual abilities and situation.

    NOTE: When tumblers have been put in head-to-head tests against standard well-managed compost bins or open piles, tumblers did NOT perform any better. Please refer to this wonderful article by Mother Earth News.

    We agree with Mother Earth News, and feel that the secret to tumblers is the turning frequency. That is, a compost tumbler usually appears to generate compost more quickly than an open pile, simply because the ingredients get turned more often. Assuming you have a well made tumbler, there is a better chance that you will turn its contents more often than you would turn the compost in your bin or pile. That's because turning compost with a tumbler happens more quickly and doesn't require as much effort. This is definitely one of the perks to well made compost tumblers.


    Don't you just love that part. If you have a compost bin or pile, and are willing to turn it every couple days (especially during the first couple weeks after it has been assembled), you will produce compost in the same amount of time as a tumbler. So are you able and willing to turn your compost bin or pile every couple days? If so, you may not want to invest in a tumbler.

    Now let's consider the second part of the equation. your situation.

    If you live in the city or in a small urban lot, a compost tumbler may be just the thing for you. However, if you live in the country or have a large lot, a compost tumbler may not be necessary. Needless to say, a compost tumbler does save space. They also help to contain any odors that may come from the composting process.

    In conclusion, if you meet the following criteria, a compost tumbler will be well worth the cost.

    • You want to make compost in a relatively short period of time (approximately 2.5 months if all materials are added at once)

  • You don't have the energy, time, or desire to turn your compost pile every couple days

  • You live in an urban area where neighbors are close-by

  • You live on a small lot or want to save space

    What if I Want to Build a Compost Tumbler?

    As you can see from Lloyd's ingenious invention in the above video, building a tumbler is quite possible. If you love do-it-yourself projects, or just want to save some money, your best option is to build a tumbler from scratch. Now, don't think you have to build a tumbler like the one from the video, instead, start small and slowly allow your creative mind to run amuck.

    Here is a set of step-by-step instructions that will teach you how to build a very simple homemade tumbler .

    The most difficult part of building your own tumbler is finding the appropriately sized drum or container (aside from the DIY tumbler instructions mentioned above). We've heard of several different sources for such large containers, but your best bet is to head out to your nearest industrial area and start knocking on doors. Oftentimes, the companies in these areas receive various parts and materials in huge drums, and they're usually willing to part with them. We read about one compost junkie who gets his bins from the local car wash. Apparently, all of their soap comes in these large industrial-sized containers.

    Do You Have a Plan or Design For Your Tumbler?

    If you were to search the net using the phrase "plans for building a tumbler ", you would find 101 different designs. The key is to stick to the basics. Always remember what compost needs when outside of a tumbler, then be sure to mimic those conditions inside your tumbler. For instance, you need to ensure your tumbler can sufficiently aerate your compost. How will your design accomplish this?

    If you're ever in doubt, be sure to check out

    our tumbler plans page for a great DIY project. We are continually adding new designs, so please be sure to check back regularly.

    Size Does Matter

    Lastly, we would like to discuss back-porch compost tumblers. These are tumblers that are much more compact than your ordinary tumbler. Back-porch tumblers are ideally suited for people living in apartments or condos (assuming you have access to a small porch or balcony).

    Since space is an issue, your tumbler will be much smaller. Therefore, it's going to be quite difficult to generate enough heat based solely on the volume of your ingredients. This means it will take a little longer to produce your compost. But it can be done! For more information, please refer to our back-porch tumbler page.

    Five Free e-booklets

    Interested in learning more about compost and compost tumblers?

    What if we told you you're just one click away from being able to download five free compost e-booklets?

    All you have to do is click on the Composting 101 booklet to the right and read our Free Goodies page.

    Best Compost Tumbler Reviews

    When it comes to composter reviews it is the compost tumblers that are one of the hardest compost makers to decide upon for many people. In this article we will look at what we have found to be by far the best compost tumbler and the model that is the most purchased and most likely to produce the best results. We will also look at just why our pick is the best choice for most people. Not only is this the best compost tumbler, it is, in our opinion the best composter bar none. You may also like to look at the SoilSaver compost bin as well, if you are more limited for space or simply want a very no frills approach, although the compost will take longer to be produced than with a compost tumbler.

    The Achla horizontal compost tumbler is by far our best pick for many people who want to buy a compost tumbler. If you click the link you can see more details and read compost tumbler reviews of this horizontal model. You can also buy for the best price online. With many of us now having heard that we can make compost in a matter of just a few weeks with a compost tumbler (which is true) we want to pick a model that is going to be the best possible choice for us so let’s take a look at why this is probably going to be the best possible choice.

    Why Pick The Achla Compost Tumbler

    The fact is that many vertical compost tumblers have one main disadvantage and that is the fact that they are upright. This means that as they fill up they are a little difficult to spin to get the optimal results. They are fine for the strong among us but if we have a slight build they can be slightly difficult to move and this means that the contents cannot be mixed or tumble easily which is at the heart of making compost quickly.

    Our best compost tumbler reviews are geared towards making life as easy as possible and this is where the Achla compost tumbler comes in to play.

    It is a horizontal model so it is very easy to tumble the contents. We simply turn a handle and the contents are mixed up easily. This means we get no hot or cold spots within the composting tumbler. And this is at the heart of getting good results.

    We will find that each time we add our organic waste we can simply give a quick spin of the handle and the contents are all mixed up and chopped together. This will allow us to make compost in record time and also means that we do not need to exert any effort in the process.

    And amazingly the Achla spinning compost tumbler is one of the cheapest models available so it is a very good choice indeed. Click on the above link to read what others have to say and you should find that this is by far one of the best compost tumblers that you could possibly buy. You may also like to look at the RotoComposter if you have more limited space, it sits close to the floor, works like the Achla model, but is available in a number of sizes and is still one of the best compost tumblers you can buy.

    Best Compost Tumbler Reviews

    Compost tumbler

    The Amazing Benefits of Composting

    With all of the talk about going green, reducing your carbon footprint and helping to reduce climate change these days, more and more people are considering the possibility of using compost tumblers in their back yard. We're going to talk about some of the benefits of composting here and then look at some of the best methods of creating compost from your kitchen scraps, yard waste, and many other sources.

    What are the benefits creating compost? One of the most prominent reasons to compost is that you are creating a natural fertilizer for your yard and garden. The nutrients from the food waste and yard waste is naturally turned back into the same plant nutrients that you get when you purchase commercial fertilizer from the hardware store, except that the compost form of these nutrients is completely natural and much less harmful to the environment. Why is it less harmful to the environment? Because commercial fertilizers are made from ingredients that require a vast expenditure of energy to produce them. The main nutrients in plant fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

    Most nitrogen production uses natural gas as it's base ingredient, and then nitrogen is forced to react with the gas at high temperatures and pressure, requiring lots of energy. Phosphorus and potassium are mined from big open pit mines using heavy machinery requiring massive amounts of diesel fuel for transporting and processing.

    The traditional end result, sadly, is that food waste and yard waste end up going to the landfill via garbage trucks. This is a one way stream, is very wasteful, and results in unnessesary energy use. So by composting, you are putting an end to this wasteful one-way stream of energy use and putting nutrients directly back into the soil, for your yard and garden to naturally thrive on. By doing so, you are also saving money on expensive store bought fertilizer. You are moving one more step toward self sufficiency by not needing to go to the store and buy something that can be produced in your back yard. And you are indirectly reducing carbon emissions.

    The traditional and most common method of composting is to simply pile the material up, say, in a corner of your yard. This will work, but there are many disadvantages, such as odors, a messy looking yard, and unwanted vermin feeding or nesting in the pile. There is a much better, quicker, and cleaner way to creat compost. That is with a device known as a compost tumbler. The compost tumbler makes it super easy to create the conditions needed to create compost in quick order. Organic matter such as food waste, fruit peels and grass clippings need air and a modest amount of moisture to decompost properly. The composting process also creates heat, and this heat needs to be distributed evenly for the best results. By turning every few days, the heat is dispersed evenly, and air is introduced into the compost, and the process proceeds much more rapidly. In addition, the compost tumbler saves the back-breaking work of shoveling and turning the compost pile.

    Most compost tumblers consist of a cylinder of some sort that is mounted on a spindle that can be turned by a handle or crank on one end. The unit will have an opening that will allow addition and removal of material from the cylinder. This opening will be able to close tightly to prevent the compost from spilling out during the turning process. The cylinder will also have small holes spaced evenly around it to allow for circulation of air. So when the unit is closed up, which will be most of the time, rats and other vermin will be prevented from getting inside. The conditions provided by a compost tumbler will allow the composting process to be completed much more quickly, on the order of two weeks rather than months, that would be the norm for a simple compost pile.

    What Is a Compost Tumbler?

    Is taking out the trash a dreaded chore in your home? If you’re still throwing out your kitchen scraps, chances are it is.

    If you’re like most American households, food waste represents up to 55% of your weekly haul of trash. And it’s what’s largely responsible for the unpleasant qualities of garbage – nasty odors, leaks and weight.

    Separating out and composting your food waste and other compostable material makes taking out the trash a breeze. Composting safely breaks down this material and leaves you with rich, dark compost that will make your garden and houseplants thrive. It also helps save precious landfill space and cuts down on the amount of climate-changing methane caused by improperly-breaking-down organic waste. But composting in traditional compost bins has its own set of problems.

    You see, things don’t rot very well without air. Composting in bins requires that the pile be turned periodically with a pitchfork or shovel to introduce oxygen into the mix– a messy, backbreaking job. And unless you’re a fanatic about pitchfork wielding, your pile probably won’t get turned often enough to turn your garbage into compost in less than a season. Most piles take several months to a year to mature once you’ve stopped adding to them. That means you’ll eventually need two bins – one for your maturing compost and one to add new material to.

    Enter the compost tumbler. A compost tumbler is a type of compost bin made with the user in mind. Instead of laboriously moving the material within the bin, the user turns the bin itself, usually by turning a crank on one end.

    Many homeowners find compost tumblers preferable to traditional bins, for the following reasons:


  • Compost tumblers are much easier to use. If you’ve never tried to turn a 500-pound pile of potato peelings, coffee grounds and dead leaves upside down inside a great big wooden or plastic compost bin using only a pitchfork - without spreading the whole rotting pile all over your lawn and then having to somehow gather it all back up again, you can’t begin to imagine the difference. Compare that scene to simply turning the crank on your compost tumbler a few times each time you add to your pile. Much cleaner and infinitely easier. Plus, kids love it – you might find they’ll beat you to the job!

  • Compost tumblers get the job done in a fraction of the time. Because the compost tumbler’s frequent turning keeps the pile aerated, you’ll get finished compost you can use in your garden or for your potted plants in just weeks instead of months or years – so you don’t have to wait for results.

  • Emptying the compost tumbler is a piece of cake compared to shoveling out a compost bin. Most compost tumblers are elevated in a frame, so all you have to do is set a bucket or small wheelbarrow under it and open the hatch – gravity does the hard work for you!

  • Compost tumblers discourage animal pests. Most compost bins allow easy access to rodents, skunks, stray dogs and other critters you may not want hanging out in your yard. Compost tumblers eliminate this problem. Their sealed bins keep unwanted visitors out and compostable materials in, so your yard stays neat and clean.
    And here’s a space- and money-saving hint: you might want to look for a compost tumbler with a double drum design. This feature allows you to harvest finished compost from the same bin you’re adding to – so the average homeowner need only buy one once. Although who knows – you may find yourself enjoying your composting hobby so much that you buy a second one anyway – and make taking out the trash easier for your neighbors, too!

    Dual Batch Compost Tumbler Review

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

    Dual Batch Compost Tumbler produces high quality compost quickly and efficiently every time. It’s like owning two composters for the cost of one. Its dual bin lets you to let one bin “cook” while you add fresh materials to the other side.

    What I also like about this  composter is both Bins of Dual Batch Tumbler Rotate Separately. So you can manage different stages of compost cooking comfortably.

    Batch composting is the fastest and most efficient way to produce high quality compost, and this dual bin tumbler makes it easy.

    Fill one side with kitchen scraps and yard waste, then stop adding materials and let it “cook,” turning it every few days to speed up the decomposition process. In the meantime, add new scraps to the other side. When the first batch of compost is finished, remove it and repeat the process, letting the other side cook.

    Each of the two bins can hold up to 3 cubic feet (i.e. 22 dry gallons) easily.

    what is compost tumbler.[read]

    Click Here to Check Best Discounted price for Dual Batch Compost Tumbler on Amazon.com

    We found it very easy to assemble; it took total 10 minutes to set it up completely from ox to being operational.

    How to make your own home made compost tumbler step by step.

    This is a step by step instructional video on how to make a home made compost tumbler with a 55 gallon drum (or similar) and some plywood. You can also visit our web site at COMPOSTisCOOL.com

    Very Easy to operate and move around, Bin doors operate easily, seal well, and are permanently labeled with start and finishto help in remembering which bin to use.

    The double bays allow for done compost and working compost. It seems there is always enough done on hand.

    Turning the composter bins is easy compared to the larger sizes. That is a big consideration and unless you are a strongman, the large size composters are very difficult to turn when half full.

    We placed bricks under the legs to stave off rust. We keep the composter under one of our decks and do not put food into it, so no smell.

    This is a very good value and I expect a long life for it. It is heavy duty to say the least. Perfect for my small yard and is not noticeable sitting against the side of the house. I highly recommend this product!

    It will also produce just enough compost to fertilize my small scale backyard garden. Easy to open and close, just have used one side so far but it is working well. Even almost completely full, it still spins easily.

    We love it! Perfect for my small yard and is not noticeable sitting against the side of the house. Dual Batch Compost Tumbler makes composting life, much easier to palate; I highly recommend this to everyone who is looking for dual composter.

    Click Here to Buy Dual Batch Compost Tumbler on Amazon.com

    Dual Batch Compost Tumbler Review. reviewed by Michelle Ryan rating 5.0 out of 5

    Ingredients for a Compost Tumbler

    Compost tumblers often come with advertisements of speedier compost production--from kitchen waste to "black gold" in 14 days. Reports on the veracity of that claim vary; however, some advantages are guaranteed. A compost tumbler is convenient if you have limited space to compost in. It keeps pests out and odor in. And it makes the all-important job of mixing and aerating the compost a snap.

    Green Stuff

    About a quarter of your tumbler's contents should be organic waste high in nitrogen and moisture, known commonly as "green stuff." This means almost all of your kitchen waste: vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea leaves and tea bags. It also includes any garden, yard, or farm waste that's still wet and green: hay, grass clippings, weeds and pruned stems. Give your tumbler a turn or two after adding a lot of grass clippings. Otherwise, these may form a solid matted layer that suffocates the oxygen-loving microorganisms that make your compost.

    Brown Stuff

    About three quarters of what you put in your tumbler should be dry, carbon-rich "brown stuff". This includes dry leaves, sawdust, straw, wood chips, shredded newspaper and cardboard. Unpleasant odors are a sign you need to add more brown stuff. You can also add more to absorb excess water if your compost is too wet.


    Check your compost periodically; it should remain about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Add a small amount of water if it's too dry. It's likely you won't have to very often. The water in the green stuff you add will usually suffice, especially considering that a compost tumbler tends to retain moisture well.


    Materials in a compost tumbler are isolated from the microorganism-rich soil. Toss in a handful of dirt to help jump-start the process.

    Compost Activators

    Optionally, you can give the composting process a boost by adding ingredients high in nitrogen, microorganisms or both. You can buy commercial products (for examples, click the Amazon.com link in the Resources section), or you can add such materials as seaweed, aged manure, blood meal, alfalfa meal or cottonseed meal.


    Oxygen is of course an essential ingredient in aerobic composting. Ease of aeration is the most distinctive advantage of a compost tumbler. Every time you turn the crank or roll the barrel, you add air.


    Human and pet manure carry diseases, as do infected plants. Pernicious weeds may resprout. Do not add these things unless you know for sure that your compost will reach and maintain the very high temperatures required to kill pathogens and weed seeds (140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit). Most compost experts recommend against meat and fish scraps, fatty food wastes, milk products and bones. However, the biggest reasons, that they attract pests and smell bad, don't apply in container compost systems such as tumblers. These meat and dairy items do bring a risk of "overheating" your compost, though, so if you choose to add them, monitor your compost's temperature and add brown stuff to bring it down if necessary. Do not add pressure-treated lumber, colored papers, or coal ash. These contain toxins that could hurt your garden. Lastly, leave out any inorganic materials such as glass, rocks, and metals. These will not break down.

    The Urban Compost Tumbler

    A 9,5 Cubic Foot Totally Recycled American Made Solution

    The Urban Compost Tumbler gives what most of us are looking for with a compost tumbler namely a way to make compost quickly and conveniently. This compost tumbler encloses the usual compost mess in an attractive or at least unobtrusive way and transforms it in a reasonable length of time into usable compost.

    I doubt there is a perfect compost tumbler but the Urban Compost Tumbler goes a long way. Just remember compost tumblers help break down materials one small batch at a time. Check out our tips for tumblers page for advice on how best to make your tumbler work well.

    Urban Compost Tumbler - UCT-9 - Specifications

    • Made in the USA from 100% recycled HDPE #2 plastic (except for the optional pivot rod sleeves)

    • Capacity - 9.5 cu. ft. 7.6 bushels, 71 gallons, 269 liters

    • Dimensions

    • Base 33 by 34 inches (84 by 87 cm)

    • Height 43 inches (110 cm)

  • Weight - 70 pounds, 32 kilos

    Features and Benefits of the UCT-9


  • No rust prone metal parts.

  • Simple design is almost maintenance free.

  • Patented Central aeration system helps keep compost aerobic.

  • Fully enclosed off the ground design eliminates potential pests like raccoons.

  • Seals in any offensive odors that may happen from time to time.

  • Helps keep the right moisture levels - seals in moisture in dry areas, seals out rain in wet areas.

  • The black unit helps heat up and maintain heat inside composter.

  • Composts both yard and kitchen waste.

  • 60 day, purchase price satisfaction guarantee.

  • 10 year Warranty

    Common Problems with the Urban Compost Tumbler UCT - 9 - and How to Solve Them.

    Tumbling the Tumbler

    The UCT tumbles end over end. It is sort of like a big pendulum that you have to get to flip. To do this you stand to the side of the unit and start it rocking. It is something like pushing child on a swing. Once it is rocking well you give it an extra push down and over it goes - usually.

    This can get challenging for smaller people (and even some tall strapping young men) as the full compost tumbler is heavy.

    Ironically it works best when the composter is full. The load is balanced better and so it flips more easily. Here is an 8 second clip showing how the composter flips.

    As the material in the composter breaks down it will settle to the bottom. It then at times gets hard to turn. One option is just to leave it for a week or so and trust the aeration core to keep things from going anaerobic and then empty the composter and start your next batch.

    The lid is round atop a round barrel. However, once the urban compost tumbler is full, and especially in hot weather, the barrel part distorts and becomes slightly oval while the lid remains very round.

    This is very irritating. Strategies to solve this include getting a partner to squeeze the barrel to a round shape while you get the lid back on. Adding material in the cooler morning or evening temperatures also helps.

    Getting the Compost Out

    The UCT-9 is not set high enough to be able to set a wheelbarrow under it to catch the compost and the inner aeration tube makes it hard to get a tool in to remove the compost a shovel full at a time.

    Use a tarp. Set it under the composter, take off the lid, flip it upside down and let gravity do most of the work.


    The Urban Compost Tumbler UCT-9 model is a durable model with a 10 year warranty. If used well it should bring you satisfaction for many seasons.

    What is a Compost Tumbler?

    Learn something new every day More Info. by email

    If you have a flower garden, grass or a vegetable garden, a compost tumbler can be a very sound investment. It is basically a bin that you spin around to keep your fertilizer turned without the need for backbreaking pitchfork work. You simply spin the bin and your compost is mixed! There are many other advantages to buying a compost tumbler.

    No one wants a huge pile of compost sitting in his or her garden. The compost tumbler can be placed in a discreet part of the garden. Compost tumblers also come in a variety of sizes and designs to compliment your personal taste. Most compost tumblers come with attached wheels, making them easier to move around the garden. Instead of lugging a pitchfork full of compost, you can move the compost tumbler to the desired area and empty the compost directly.

    A big problem with compost left out in the open air is that it dries quickly in hot weather. Compost needs to be kept damp, and this is easy to achieve with a compost tumbler. If the weather is wet, the compost kept in the tumbler will not become heavy with water. Another plus, especially for the neighbors, is that the compost tumbler eradicates the smell of open-air fertilizer. Any smell from the compost will be kept locked inside the bin.

    The compost tumbler will also be a great deterrent for pets or animals that roam around your garden. A compost tumbler also makes it easy to collect compost liquid or, as it is sometimes known, compost tea. This is not some new age type of drink; it is a nutrient filled liquid produced by compost. It can easily be drained from the tumbler and used on your flowers, vegetables or grass. The compost tumbler can also be set to disperse the liquid straight into the ground.

    With the turn of a handle, your compost will be aired and mixed. The tumbler makes compost ready to use more quickly than an open-air pile of compost. Depending on its size, the compost tumbler has the capability to produce up to 900 pounds (408 kg) of compost in a year. Compost tumblers are an inexpensive, environmentally friendly way to keep your garden looking good.

    What Is an Urban Compost Tumbler?

    Article Details

    • Written By: Mary McMahon

    • Edited By: Kristen Osborne

    • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014

    • Copyright Protected:

    Learn something new every day More Info. by email

    An urban compost tumbler is a piece of composting equipment designed for settings with limited space, such as urban backyards and decks. The unit turns, allowing people to rotate and aerate compost without having to do so by hand with a pitchfork or shovel. This makes it much easier to maintain a compost pile and can speed the rate at which composted components break down over time. When the compost has broken down, providing a layer of rich soil, people can extract it and use it for gardening.

    A common design for an urban compost tumbler consists of a barrel held in a frame. People add layers of organic material like kitchen scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and newspaper. Periodically, they spin the barrel, allowing the layers to mix and redistribute themselves. Care must be taken during this process, as holes for aeration can leak fluids and fragments of material and it may get messy. Over time, the contents of the compost tumbler will break down into useful compost.

    The small footprint of an urban compost tumbler is useful for areas where people have very limited space. The enclosed design also keeps the compost neat and limits smell, two common concerns for people who want to compost in urban environments. This piece of equipment can be used in other settings as well, and can be useful for gardeners who lack the physical strength to turn a compost pile by hand or who want to cut down on the space taken up by a compost pile in the garden.

    Several manufacturers produce urban compost tumbler designs, and it is also possible to make one, for people who are comfortable with do-it-yourself projects. A circular container for compost is needed, along with a frame to suspend it so it can be spun. A very basic design can be made by cutting out wooden rounds, attaching them with dowels, and stretching netting over the frame. A hinged flap can be created for adding compost. As the compost breaks down, dirt will naturally trickle through the mesh and collect under the compost tumbler.

    People who are just starting to compost with an urban compost tumbler should remember to use a good mixture of green materials like kitchen scraps, as well as things like leaves and paper. The compost may dry out, in which case it needs to be watered, or become wet and slimy, requiring paper or grass clippings to absorb some of the moisture. Compost also tends to get warm when it is healthy, and people may notice steam around the compost tumbler on cold mornings.

    What Is The Top Compost Tumbler

    Why Choose a Compost Tumbler?

    What is the advantage of a compost tumbler. Turning your compost pile is an arduous task, but very necessary.  Turning will make your compost ready much sooner as it gets aeration into the process and also combines the hot material that is already  breaking down with the fresh garden waste as you add more and more to the pile. This will speed up your composting, by making the more recent material break down faster than by just leaving it.

    However with a traditional compost bin or pile, it can be hard to do this seemingly simple task. Just getting a fork into the compost pile  can be difficult, let alone turning it! Secondly the build up of heat  can be quickly lost, which will mean your compost will take longer  before it is ready. Also remember that an open pile or a compost bin let small animals (especially rodents) get into the heap.

    A compost tumbler is an easy and effective solution to the above problems. Not only is turning your compost a whole lot easier than turning a compost pile with a fork, but it retains the heat and  also is a totally effective barrier to rodents.


    what is compost tumbler.[read]• It will accelerate your composting time. In ideal conditions it can be only three weeks from waste to ready to use compost! Of course there are factors which affect this timescale. Such things as weather (ie temperature, humidity) and balancing carbon and nitrogen waste will have an impact.

    • There won’t be any unpleasant smell which some don’t like wafting around the garden!

    • Compact and tidy, a good looking alternative to a normal compost pile

    • Very good for smaller gardens especially if you live in a suburban or urban area

    Is there any downside?

    • They are pricier to buy than a compost bin. More heavy duty construction together with the necessary stand/legs or bases with the actual “roller” mechanism whatever particular design you choose. These are also all excellent reasons to buy a compost tumbler though!

    Recommended Design: An Aerated Drum Tumbler

    Whereas the most basic compost tumblers are just a spinning drum which will provide some benefit over a compost pile, they do not have any specific aeration method. This results in slower composting than aerated models.

    Aerated versions will have a way of getting air into the barrel and therefore to your garden waste. As mentioned previously this is of great importance to accelerate the process. Obviously with a quicker process you will get more compost per year.

    Recommended Aerated Compost Tumbler

    Balancing a great price with superb design and excellent performance the Lifetime 60058 Compost Tumbler has an easy turning 80 gallon (10.72 cubic ft) drum made from UV-protected high-density polyethylene (HDPE) panels. These panels are double walled which help to both absorb and then hold in the heat that helps with the composting process. It also features an aerating bar which also doubles as a mixer when you rotate the drum.

  • How to use a urban tumbler composters bins

    How to Make Compost using a Compost Tumbler: Finished Compost



    how to use a compost tumbler.[good]

    how to use a compost tumbler.[good]

    Composting Tips for Compost Tumblers

    Why composting tips for compost tumblers?

    When you buy a compost tumbler you probably figure you've bought a perfect making compost solution. A unit that will handle all your biodegradable garbage with incredible ease. A composter that keeps everything clean, neat and tidy and at two week intervals rewards you with a rich earth compost.

    However, a surprising number of people end up with an expensive tumbler they have trouble turning and either a barrel full of material that hasn't rotted down at all or that is now full of a wet, stinking, rotting mess - that they can't somehow even get out of the composter because they can't turn the darn thing.

    If you're used to making compost in a simple pile built over some time on a bit of ground and left to break down for several months to a year remember you have all nature's resources waiting in the wings to fix your mistakes. Not so with the closed system now on your deck.

    Give your tumbler a chance to work well by paying attention to these composting tips.

    Composting Tips for Tumblers - The Short Sweet Version

    • Activate by adding a bit of compost, soil, horse manure or purchased compost activator.

    • Add a balanced mix of materials with a Carbon Nitrogen ratio of about 25.

    • Shred your compost materials to small sizes.

    • Make your compost a batch at a time - or more simply stop adding materials and let the process complete.

    • Keep moist - as wet as a squeezed out sponge.

    Composting Tips for Tumblers - The Epic Version

    Activate your First Batch or Two with a Compost Activator

    Your new tumbler is a sterile place. The whole compost process happens because of the living decomposers in nature. They are definitely not present in your new composter.

    Your kitchen scraps and yard wastes will naturally be covered in some of the bacteria and fungi you need to get the compost cooking. However, to give your first few loads a boost add a handful or two of compost if you have some available, or healthy soil, or horse manure. If none of the free stuff is readily available buy a compost activator. You'll need it only for the first couple of batches.

    Don't clean your compost tumbler between batches. The bits of material left in the composter will activate your next batch. Expect your first few loads to take longer to break down.

    Balance Your Mix of Compost Materials to a C/N Ratio of About 25

    A compost tumbler is a closed system, and one you are hoping is going to churn out finished compost in 2 or 3 weeks. If you have the right balance of nitrogen rich green material and carbon rich brown material - in other words a Carbon Nitrogen ratio of about 25 - there is at least some hope that you will succeed.

    Too much of one or the other will turn your tumbler into an expensive contraption that stores either guck or fluff and has little hope for getting to finished compost anytime soon.

    For composting tips on getting the right mix check out our compost ingredients page. There you'll find list of many of the materials you will be adding to your tumbler along with their C/N ratios.

    The tumbler will mix this up but it is worth doing a little premixing of your own. Mix up a bowl of kitchen scraps with some shredded paper then add the mixture to the unit.

    Shred It, Chop It - Make Small Bites for Microbes

    It always speeds things in the compost up when you chop or shred your materials before adding them. In a tumbler this is more important.

    First of all you spent serious money to buy the tumbler and you likely want your compost fast. Leaving it all in the tumbler for a year to slowly decompose I'm betting isn't in your plans. Chopping material into smaller bits makes more surface area available to the bacteria and fungi who will be at work breaking this stuff down. This really speeds things up.

    Second, with any luck you won't have your back up shredders - little animals tunneling about, the earthworms churning through the ingredients, and the larger insects that would help by shredding materials in a pile located on the ground. Don't add them to your tumbler - it will get too hot for them and they won't be able to escape.

    Here's a composting tip. Look in your kitchen and office for tools to shred your compost materials. With kitchen scraps and ideal shredding tool is a food processor. A couple of pulses and your materials will be perfect for the tumbler. Or you can chop stuff with a knife, kitchen shears or pruners into smaller 1-2 inch pieces.

    For paper I use a cross cut paper shredder. It kind of wrinkles up the bits of paper a bit so that you have air pockets and less matting.

    Make a Batch of Compost - Bake a Batch of Compost

    Tumblers are small batch composters. Think of a batch of cookies. You add your ingredients, mix them up, then bake. You don't open the oven half way through and add more flour and then pop them back in the oven.

    A batch composter is a bit like baking cookies. Keep adding your ingredients until your tumbler is almost full. Don't fill it all the way or the contents won't mix. Then stop adding new material. The time - the promised two to three weeks to convert that stuff to compost - starts when you stop adding stuff.

    Storing Stuff While Batch Bakes

    Hardly anyone gets finished compost in two or three weeks. At the two week period the compost might broken down enough to move out of the tumbler and either mulched around your garden or left to cure for a few months.
    Meanwhile the kitchen wastes keep coming. What to do? Here are three composting tips to solve this problem:

    • Buy two compost tumblers and fill one while the other bakes.

    • Buy one of the dual compartment composters such as the Jora composter, or the Compost Twin.

    • Get a lidded bucket and layer your waste with some sawdust or shredded paper. Then add the whole bucket to the tumbler right after you empty the tumbler.

    Moist as a Squeezed Out Sponge

    Moist as a squeezed out sponge is at times an elusive goal. Happily, because the system is closed with of course some sir coming in it does tend to keep a steady moisture level. People in desert area will find a tumbler keeping the material moist. Those living in areas with lots of rain will find the tumbler keeps the compost from getting soggy.

    If the moisture level is wrong it's because of what you put into the barrel. If things are too wet it will start to stink. If it is too dry it will stop breaking down.

    Here are a couple of composting tips for adjusting compost moisture. If wet add dry sawdust, wood pellets or shredded paper. If too dry add water a cup at a time turning the composter after each addition.

    Turning the Tumbler

    Some tumblers are easier to turn than others. I really have trouble with my beautiful blue globe for example. When you choose your tumbler recognize that to get compost fast you need to turn it daily or every other day. This keeps the aeration high which ignites the whole process. If you don't turn it you have a static pile that will take several months to break down.

    Pick a tumbler that you figure you can turn. A tall, strong young man could likely handle any tumbler. Someone like me should look carefully for one where reviews never say I had trouble turning it.

    Subscribe to my Free ezine - the Compost Pile

    10 Tips for Making Better Compost

    Here are the top 10 ways we know of for making compost in less time and of better quality than ever before.

    1. Get the Optimal Balance of Compost Materials

    It's important to get the right mixture of ingredients in your compost to ensure that it heats up nicely and breaks down effectively.

    Here's how:

    Getting the right mixture of brown (carbon) materials. to green (nitrogeneous) materials will make a huge difference. Adding too much brown material will result in a compost pile that takes a long time to break down. Adding too much green material will result in a compost pile that is slimy and smelly that doesn't break down well. In order for your compost pile to break down quickly and efficiently you should feed it just the right balance of brown and green materials.

    The microorganisms in our compost bins need both carbon and nitrogen to thrive; carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein synthesis. For every one unit of nitrogen used by the bacteria they also consume about 30 units of carbon. So in order to keep the bacteria working efficiently we need to supply them with a mixture that is about 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Needless to say, most materials don't have a ratio of 30:1. However, if we know the approximate C:N ratio of the materials we use in our compost, we can combine them so that the total mix will be close to 30:1. It's really not that complicated.

    2. Turn the Compost More Often

    Adding fresh oxygen into your compost pile by turning it more frequently will help your compost break down faster. Here's why:

    Many of the bacteria that break down your compost need air to survive. A week or two after the pile is made these bacteria will start to die off as they start to use up the available air in the pile. This drop in the amount of bacteria will result in the compost pile cooling off a bit from it's peak temperature. When this happens it's time to turn the pile to get more air into it.

    When turning your compost pile, move the drier material from the outer edges of the pile into the center and break up any clumps to get as much air into the mixture as you can. Moisten any of the materials as you go if they seem dry.

    If you have the time, we suggest turning the pile every 14 days or so, or when you see the temperature fall from the next peak in termperature of about 110° - 120° F. That's more often than most of us have time for, but, in general, the more you turn the pile the faster you will have finished compost. If you're using a plastic compost bin, an aerator tool will make the job of turning much easier. A garden fork is often the best tool for turning compost in an open style bin.

    Another way to get more air into your compost is to stick a stake or metal rod into the pile and wiggle it around to create an air pocket. Some people even drill holes along the length of PVC pipes and the pipes horizontally as they build their compost pile.

    3. Check the Moisture Level of your Compost

    Acheiving the correct moisture content is an important factor in keeping a compost pile working efficiently.

    The key to getting the correct moisture in your compost is to moisten the pile without making it too wet and soggy. Many people recommend adding moisture until the material is as moist as a wrung out sponge. This is far too wet. If you can squeeze water out of it, it's definitely too wet. If your pile is too wet adding some dry brown materials such as chopped leaves or hay should help dry it out.

    If you live in a very dry climate, make an indentation in the top of the pile to collect rainwater and help keep the pile moist. If you're in a rainy area cover the top of the pile with a tarp or other covering to keep it from becoming too wet.

    A moisture content of between 50-60% is desirable in an active compost pile but how many of us know how to measure moisture.

    4. Use the Berkeley Method of "fast composting"

    A really fast method of composting known as the "Berkeley method" or "fast composting" produces finished compost in as little as 14 to 21 days.

    Fast composting produces a higher quality compost in less time than traditional methods. The finished product contains a higher nutrient value becauase nutrients are not lost to leaching from rainfall and long-term exposure to the elements. The original Berkeley method involved the layering of carbon and nitrogen materials but today, many composters mix all the materials together into one large fast compost pile.

    The jury is out on which of these options helps the pile to heat up faster. Choose whichever option you feel most comfortable with. For the purposes of this article we will mix all of the material together.

    5. Shred Some of the Ingredients - Especially the Brown Material

    If there is one secret to making compost faster, it is finely shredding the carbon rich ingredients such as leaves, hay, straw, paper and cardboard.

    Shredding increases the surface area that the compost microbes have to work on and provides a more even distribution of air and moisture among the materials. Since it's the brown materials that take the longest amount of time to break down, shredding them significantly reduces the finishing time of compost.

    The type of chipper or shreddder used is not important, provided it can handle the materials. Rotary lawn mowers can also be used for dry leaves by running the mower back and forth over a pile a few times although this method is not as effective as using a commercial shredder. Some readers have recommended shredding dry leaves in the bottom of a plastic garbage bin with a rotary grass trimmer - we do not recommended this method due to the risk of injury. If you insist on giving it a try, be sure to wear both gloves and goggles!

    Nitrogen rich materials such as manure, vegetable wastes and green prunings can also be shredded. Soft succulent materials do not need to be shredded because they break down very quickly in the compost pile.

    If you don't have a chipper or shredder you can chop your materials into smaller pieces with pruning shears or strong scissors. We often do this with our tomato vines at the end of the season. It takes a fair amount of effort but the results are worth it.

    6. Use a Compost Tumbler

    Using a compost tumbler is one way to get finished compost in a short amount of time with minimal effort. Although most of us will not be able to make finished compost in two to three weeks as some manufacturers claim, there are significant advantages to using a tumbler.

    The most significant benefit is the ease and convenience of turning the pile. Turning an established compost pile can be a lot of work, so much so that most people simply don't do it often enough. Compost tumblers do produce finished compost in a much shorter amount of time than most other methods. Compost tumblers tend to be more expensive than other bins and their capacity may be limiting to those with huge amounts of material but for most people it's the quickest and most effective method there is.

    There are now a wide variety of quality compost tumblers available including:

    The Original Compost Tumbler

    This tumbler has a large 18 bushel capacity and a gear driven drum for easy turning even when full. Internal mixing pins help push freshly added materials to the core where temperatures can reach 150+ degrees. Aerator/drainage devices on the door provide air intake without loss of compost (also prevents leaching of nutrients into ground below). Screened vents on end caps help to ensure a constant flow of fresh air into the bin (helping to prevent odors). View details on Amazon »

    RotoComposter Compost Tumbler

    This tumbler has one large capacity compost drum that rotates on a stable base for quick and easy mixing. It comes fully assembled so there are no worries about putting it together. It's made from recycled plastic and holds 12 cubic feet of material. It has a 16 inch wide twist-on vented lid. View details on Amazon »

    Mantis ComposT-Twin Composting Bin

    This 2-chamber rotating composter lets you "cook" one batch while you add new material to another. It's built with a sturdy tubular frame and has aerator vents. The easy-to-turn handle and gear system makes for easy mixing. This tumbler is a bit pricey but it's a solid work horse with a capacity of 10-bushels. View details on Amazon »

    More information on compost tumblers is available at: compost-bins.org

    7. The Secret Compost Ingredient: Alfalfa Meal

    Adding an activator such as alfalfa meal to your compost provides the much needed nitrogen and protein that really speed up the process.

    Activators are a source of both nitrogen and protein, ingredients that assist the organisms to break down the organic material. There are many commercially made activators that are worth a try. We have tried a few but nothing has come close the the results we have seen with what we call "our secret compost ingredient."

    The activator that we call "our secret ingredient" is Alfalfa meal! In some areas you will find Alfalfa Meal in garden centres and it is also available from online retailers. Wait unti you see what it does for your compost. The results are remarkable!

    You can also use fresh manure, bone meal, blood meal, cottonseed meal, comfrey, or even high-protein dry dog food (yes, that's right, dog food!) as a compost activator.

    8. Use More Than One Pile

    If you have a lot of material to compost it's a good idea to start a new pile rather than adding to an existing pile.

    Once the composting process begins and the material in the pile starts to break down it is advisable to avoid adding new material unless there is an imbalance of greens to browns that should be corrected. Adding new material to an existing pile will usually prolong the wait for finished compost and, in an open pile, the longer the process takes the greater the risk that nutrients will be lost to leaching.

    A better idea is to start a brand new pile with the fresh material. Both piles will be break down more efficiently and will be ready sooner!

    9. Start a Worm Compost Bin for Food Scraps

    Worm Composting, also known as vermiculture is an often overlooked composting method. It's not just for city folks anymore!

    One advantage of worm composting is that it can be done indoors and outdoors, allowing for year round composting. It also provides those living in apartments with a means of composting. Worrm compost is made in a container filled with moistened bedding (often shredded newspaper, or shredded fall leaves and a handful of sand or soil) and red wrigglers (also known as branding or manure worms).

    You add your food waste and the worms and micro-organisms will eventually convert the entire contents into rich compost. Worm compost bins are also a fun and eductational project for children!

    10. Grow your own super-charged organic fertilizer

    If you have a spare garden bed, consider growing a patch of comfrey. Comfrey has deep roots that absorb nutrients from the subsoil, which are then stored in the leaves. Comfrey leaves have a high level of nitrogen making them a great activator for compost piles but their real value is in making comfrey fertilizer for your plants. When you compare the nutrient levels of compost with comfrey fertilizer at the end of this article you'll see why we use the term "super-charged."

    Growing Comfrey

    Comfrey is a hardy plant that will regrow from small pieces of root so it is important to choose the site with care. Comfrey rarely sets seeds so it won't infest your garden. The plants will do well in full sun to near full shade in an area that gets lots of moisture. Space the plants 2 to 3 feet apart and stand back and watch it grow. In the first year cut the flower stalks and add them to the compost heap. In the second year you should be able to get 3-4 cuts from a single comfrey patch. Just take a pair of shears and cut them back to about six inches from ground level. Wear gloves because the leaves can irritate skin.


    Add items to the compost tumbler that you would normally put in a compost pile. Leaves, grass clippings, leftover produce and food waste are all items that can safely be added to your compost.

    how to use a compost tumbler.[good]

    Rotate or roll the compost tumbler at least once daily to mix all the ingredients and to aerate the compost. The tumbler conserves heat, which helps break down the contents faster. Having compost in a sealed container keeps the smell down as well.



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    Add enough water to maintain the bacteria vital to composting but not too. aluminum foil, glass and metals do. you.

    Actively aerated compost tea refers to a method of multiplying the beneficial microorganisms found in compost by. Maximize your compost pile.

    The good thing about compost is that it can be made quickly and easily in your own backyard with little or no.


    Load the composter with green and brown garden waste. For every 6 inches of brown garden waste, add 4 to 5 inches of green waste. A good ratio to remember is 25 parts of brown, or carbon, matter to one part of green, or nitrogen, matter.

    Add enough water to the composter to moisten the materials. Do not use so much water the pile becomes sopping wet. You will need to add more water if the pile becomes dry during the composting process.

    Tips & Warnings


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    Getting the most from your tumbler.

    Our correspondent in Santa Fe, New Mexico writes in to tell us of an encouraging sight he sees. One of the city’s schools is flanked by a number of raised garden beds where the students grow vegetables in the spring and summer. Nearby are a half-dozen compost tumblers into which he’s seen students loading the remains of those gardens as well as leaves and kitchen scraps. This extends the students’ lessons that start with simple seeds. Not only are they learning about plants and other aspects of biology, they’re learning about recycling waste, building healthy soil. and the science behind decomposition. Imagine the possibilities.

    The main thing this sight brings to our New Mexican friend (he admits) is jealousy. He only has one compost tumbler and he wishes, like the students, he had more.

    The benefits of compost tumblers  make them perfect for most home gardeners. They keep their contents neat and contained. Not all of us think that a compost heap is a beautiful thing (right, dear?) but even those who see a pile of decomposing leaves and grass clippings as an eyesore can’t slight the sight of an efficient compost tumbler. The best thing about them? They make accomplishing the act of composting much easier. Why spend time with a garden fork turning over a heavy and unruly heap every few months when a few cranks and turns mixes your compost and provides the aeration it needs to work effectively?

    And that’s the other great advantage. Compost tumblers. when used correctly, can speed up the process, doing what might take years in a moderately efficient heap a matter of months in a tumbler. Again, this happens only when the right conditions are applied. Though that’s not difficult, its the reason you may have heard your neighbor complain that he didn’t end up with finished compost in nearly the time he thought he would. But again, with a little attention to detail, you can turn a tumbler full of scraps into a wonderful soil amendment in a season or less. Here’s how.

    Most important is providing the right ratio of green to brown ingredients. This means balancing nitrogen and carbon ratios in a way that’s sutiable to conditions inside your tumbler. Most compost tumblers recommend that you load your barrel with roughly 75 percent grass clippings or green equivalent and 25 percent other ingredients such as kitchen scrapes. This varies from the traditional brown-green mix in open piles or heaps. Why? Because the mostly closed tumbler system affords less chance for evaporation. The other important thing is to take advantage of your tumbler’s rotating feature. Moisture levels are important. If what’s in your barrel seems to dry, as it might be after loading in a pile of leaves on a sunny autumn day, add some moisture, then tumble to spread it around.

    Compost should be turned every several days. Turning compost every five or so days mixes more oxygen into the decomposing materials allowing the process to continue at its most accelerated rate. It also exposes more surface of the composting materials to the microorganisms that accomplish the process (see The Biology of Composting ). Too much turning can also inhibit the process by short-circuiting the decomposition process and not allowing heat to build. Checking the contents of your tumbler every few days will give you a feel for how things are going, how many days the materials need to reach maximum heat, and just when that heat starts to decline. That’s the time to turn.

    Other small tricks: don’t continually add materials to your tumbler. Once it’s reached near full capacity — you want to leave some space so that there’s plenty of air and room for the materials to mix when turned — wait until what’s inside is finished before emptying and reloading. The temptation to add more materials increases as the contents inside decomposes and is reduced. Don’t do it. And make sure, as you go along, that any venting your tumbler has is kept clear. Fresh air is critical to the process.

    When starting a new load add a shovelful of finished compost to introduce the microorganisms that will do the work of decomposition. Even better, use one of the compost starter products that concentrate such microorganisms. Such products can speed your results and are particularly useful in the (mostly) closed environment of the tumbler. What about holding compost over winter? We frequently start a batch in the fall with leaves, kitchen scraps (potato peelings), and organic goat manure (because grass clippings are hard to come by then) and turn as long as conditions allow. Eventually, frozen weather or snow put an end to this. We’ve never had a problem but imagine very damp contents could expand and damage the container. But again, we’ve never had this problem. In the spring, start turning as soon as you can. Even after over-wintering, in the harsh Montana climate, we’ve been able to turn out ready compost by the Fourth of July.

    Like anything else, you’ll get better using a compost tumbler the more you use it. Pay attention to the details and your own special conditions and you’ll reduce the time it takes to produce a finished batch. You can see the value of having two tumblers going so that you can load one as the other finishes. Our friend in New Mexico says he’s already made his wishes  known to Santa. Here’s hoping she’s listening.

    Composting Step-by-Step with a Backporch Compost Tumbler

    I started composting a while back because I was sick of throwing huge piles of kitchen scraps into the garbage, especially since I knew that my landfill-bound kitchen scraps could, with a little effort, be turned into absolutely amazing fertilizer for my garden.

    Oh, and I also knew that composting would enable me to use fewer plastic garbage bags (although I still haven't elimated these yet. darnit!).

    As I was considering how I wanted to go about this composting busines, several of my friends recommended that I get a worm bin. My boyfriend, however, did not like the idea of having a bin and a bunch of squiggly critters inside the apartment so I opted for a compost tumbler instead. The exact bin I chose was the Backporch Compost Tumbler because I can simply rotate the drum on its axis in order to aerate the contents of the bin and also because it is small enough to fit on my enclosed porch (unfortunately, it's made of plastic. Argh!).

    Below is a step-by-step on how to use it, which can pretty much be carried over to any similar tumbler or bin.

    1. To start composting, begin collecting your kitchen scraps. I collect mine in an old garbage can for a day or two before I add them to my composter.

    2. When you've got the time, add your kitchen scraps to your compost bin. These scraps, by the way, are considered "green" or "wet" materials and contribute nitrogen to the pile. To compost properly, you need to balance out the carbon-nitrogen ratio. More on that later.

    3. Shred some paper. This paper will add carbon to the pile and is considered "brown" or "dry" material. By the way, it's important that the paper (and veggie scraps) are made into small pieces to speed up the composting process.

    Note: I say to add paper because it is the most convenient source of carbon in the winter, but a variety of other "brown" materials that are easier to come by in the summer and fall are actually preferrable.

    4. After shredding the paper, add it to your compost pile. A general rule of thumb in terms of carbon-nitrogen ratios is to add 3 parts of high-carbon materials (ex. paper) to every one part of high-nitrogen materials (ex. kitchen scraps). I usually follow this as best I can, and then just add extra paper if the bin starts to smell at all. It seems to work pretty well.

    5. Then close your composter up and give it a few good turns.

    And that's it. If you follow these steps, you'll end with a bunch of compost that looks like this:

    Not too exciting right now, but eventually this pile will turn itself into nutrient-rich dirt, which is pretty cool. Also, despite the fact that there is months and months of garbage in the bin, it doesn't smell bad at all (except for the slight smell of rotting citrus from the grapefruit I added a few weeks ago). Apparently, that's the magic of the carbon-nitrogen ratio.

    To learn more about composting, check out this comprehensive website on composting from the University of Illinois. It provides all the necessary details on materials you can and can't use in your bin, carbon-nitrogen ratios, and the many types of compost bins and piles.

    For fun, you can also take a look at the following cute video on creating an outdoor compost pile or experiment with this awesome compost calculator. both courtesy of Planting Milkwood .

    Making Your Own Compost Tumbler at Home

    what is compost tumbler.[read]
    how to use a compost tumbler.[good]

    If you own a yard or garden and grow flowers or crops, you will undoubtedly know the importance of compost to provide much-needed nutrients to them, to enable them to flourish and offer you a year-long bounty. If you depend on purchasing compost, you will also know that the costs can sometimes outweigh the profits, especially if you tend to gardening as just a hobby.

    There are certain rules to keep in mind when dealing with home-made compost. Firstly, you will have to separate the carbon and nitrogen waste. To give you an idea of which is which, we have devised some pointers to common waste and which category they fall under:


    • Fruit and vegetable scraps, together with most other table scraps

    • Grass and garden weeds

    • Flower cuttings and green leaves

    • Seaweed

    • Chicken manure

    • Ground coffee and tea leaves


    • Other leaves (not green)

    • Straw or hay

    • Wood ash

    • Newspaper

    • Shredded paper and cardboard

    • Sawdust and wood chippings


    As you can see, most of the waste originating from your garden and kitchen would act as nutrient-rich compost. But, the question remains В– how do you convert all of the above into fresh and manageable compost?

    Building Your Own Compost Tumbler

    The benefits of building and owning your own compost tumblers are twofold. Firstly, you would not need to buy weekly or monthly supplies of compost, which may or may not be added with fertilisers or other chemicals. Secondly, you would need to handle the bags of compost when purchasing, unloading and then storing it in your garden shed.

    The essential components of compost tumblers are rather basic and should incorporate the following:

    • 13 gallon garbage can with cover

    • 2 gallon garbage can without cover

    • 1 brick

    • Electric drill with 1/2-inch diameter drill bit

    • 5 gallon bucket

    • Shovel

    • Old blanket

    Here are the steps to put them all together:

    1. Drill six holes at the bottom of the 2 gallon garbage can and 24 holes around it, using a 1/2-inch diameter drill bit. It is not important where the 24 holes are positioned, as long as they are spaced at least 2-3 inches apart. These holes allow for easy drainage and also allow air to seep in, accelerating the decomposition.

    2. Place the brick in the 13 gallon garbage can so that its length lies in the centre of the can. Empty the soil collected in the 5 gallon bucket into the can, until the soil reaches the height of the brick inside the can.

    3. Position the 2 gallon garbage can into the 13 gallon one by settling it on the brick. Close the cover of the larger of the 2 cans.

    4. When the compost is ready to be inserted inside the larger can, open the cover and empty the waste into the smaller container. This process can be suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

    5. Once waste is added close the lid and wrap the old blanket around the 13 gallon can to keep it warm.

    Steps on Adding Waste

    Although it might seem an easier task than believed, it is important to know how to prepare the compost, for maximum benefits. Here are the basic stages of preparing the waste:

    1. Use fresh soil as the base of your compost pile as this would allow worms and other organisms to aerate and prepare the compost for use.

    2. Add straw or twigs to the pile as this accelerates aeration and assists in drainage.

    3. Continue to add layers of waste, alternating between moist and dry. Examples of dry waste would be wood ash, sawdust and straw. Moist waste would be teabags, food scraps and seaweed.

    4. Place the green manure (made of buckwheat, clover or wheatgrass) to activate the pile and speed the process. Any nitrogen source outlined earlier would do the trick.

    5. Keep the compost moist (either through watering or hosing) or allowing rainwater to collect.

    6. Cover the pile with plastic sheeting, old rugs or carpets or wood to help retain moisture and heat.

    7. Be sure to turn the compost over with a shovel every few weeks to add fresh oxygen to the pile.

    Benefits of Building Your Own Compost Tumbler

    Apart from the savings in cost, having your own compost tumbler will enable you to control exactly what type of waste is added to your valuable source of nutrition for your crops or flowers. As long as you are aware of what should be added and in which order, you are bound to enjoy the huge benefits of producing your own home-made compost.

    You would not need to worry about running short or storing large amounts of compost as it would now be available on demand. It only takes a couple of minutes to prepare the whole mixture and feed your plants or crops with the sustenance they deserve!

    Buying a Compost Tumbler

    There are many benefits to making your own compost tumbler, the obvious one being the cost savings. But sometimes you may not have the time or patience it requires to make your own. Should this be the case you can purchase a compost tumbler from many places online or even your local hardware. The benefits of buying instead of purchasing include quality and lifespan. Generally a quality made compost tumbler will be made from steel and have a manufacturer's warranty or some sort of guarantee that it will last a certain amount of years. Easy composter has a range of steel rotating compost bins for sale which include a colorbond finish and warranty.

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    MOTHER EARTH NEWS has results from testing compost tumblers on the market and comparing them to compost created in compost bins or piles.

    Testing Compost Tumblers

    You've seen the ads: "Now you can have dark, rich compost in just a few weeks!" What an appealing message. Whether you grow flowers, vegetables, herbs or houseplants, compost is "black gold" in the garden. We never have enough of it, and can't make it fast enough. Compost tumblers, the ads say, can give us a steady supply every couple of weeks. Designed so you can crank, turn or roll the container to turn and aerate the compost, tumblers come in several sizes.

    Before you run out and buy one, however, be aware that those headlines are advertising hyperbole at best. In our tests, tumblers did not produce finished compost any faster than a well-managed compost bin or open pile.

    To be sure, the ingredients appear to be composting faster because you are likely to turn the contents more often in a tumbler, thus introducing air — one of the four vital ingredients (the others being nitrogen, carbon and water) — that is necessary to turn vegetable matter into compost. But if you build an open pile the same size as a tumbler's capacity, use the same ingredients in both and turn the open pile whenever you rotate the tumbler, they will produce compost in the same general time frame. So, why should you buy a compost tumbler?

    Last summer we conducted a field test of various compost tumblers versus open compost piles. Although most of us at MOTHER use cold composting methods (substituting time for the work of maintaining a hot pile), we ran a hot pile as a control.

    Under our environmental conditions, both the open (hot) pile control and the tumblers yielded rich, finished compost in about 10 weeks — a far cry from the 14 days some of the manufacturers claim. The tumblers were certainly easier to use than turning an open pile with a pitchfork, but they did not appreciably increase the speed of production when compared to a properly managed open pile. Ease of turning is probably the main benefit tumblers offer, but as you will see below, some are easier to turn than others.

    Although the decomposition time is not increased, compost tumblers do have advantages in addition to ease of turning. By and large, they are clean, neat, unobtrusive, pest-resistant and odor-free. Because of this, tumblers often can be used in urban and suburban areas, where local laws or restrictive covenants may prohibit open compost piles.

    One pleasant surprise during the testing, in what turned out to be a drought year, was that the enclosed tumblers retained moisture better than the open pile, which had to be watered frequently.

    Compost Tumbler Styles

    Compost tumblers fall into four general categories based on their construction:

    Crank-operated drums. A horizontally mounted drum rests on a raised framework. A crank assembly lets you turn the drum easily, while the internal baffles help mix the materials, adding air.

    Because the drums are raised relatively high, emptying them is simple. Merely push a wheelbarrow under the drum, position the door and open it. Compost pours directly into the wheelbarrow.

    This style of tumbler tends to cost about twice as much as other styles. But, as with anything else, you get what you pay for. In this case, you trade money for ease of operation.

    The Mantis ComposTwin and the ComposTumbler are examples of this design; the former has a double drum and the latter has a single drum (available in two sizes).

    Center-axle drums. A vertically mounted drum rotates around a central, horizontal axle supported by a wood, metal or PVC frame. Operation is generally easy, particularly with the models that have doors on both ends. The central axle acts to break up and mix the materials. Most of these tumblers are mounted low to the ground, however, so emptying them can be a chore unless you have a low-boy wheelbarrow that happens to fit under them.

    The Urban Compost Tumbler (UCT) and the Tumbleweed are this type.

    Base rolling drums. A horizontally configured drum rolls on a ground-level base. Some of them actually have rollers, while others have molded rounded points to suspend the drum and let it rotate. Obviously, the tumblers with rollers are easier to turn. To help make rotating easier, several of this style have steps molded into the body, so you can use your feet and legs to turn them, thus theoretically easing back strain.

    Because the base rolling tumblers virtually sit on the ground, emptying them can be awkward. You have to shovel the compost out — through relatively small openings — rather than pouring it.

    Typical of this design are the Envirocycle, the Step-down Composter and the EZ Composter.

    Roll-Around Sphere Compost Tumblers. These are giant molded angular balls that you fill with composting material and then roll around your yard. The idea is initially intriguing; in practice, however, they tend to he the most awkward to use and the most difficult to empty.

    Roll-around composters are not really round, but are faceted like a geodesic dome. As a result, they only roll on what would be their equator. And, instead of rolling like a snowball, they swing to the left or right in sharp arcs. The heavier they are loaded, the less control you have.

    The Bio Orb and the Large Batch Composter are examples of this style.

    Compost Tumbler Features: Pros and Cons

    Once you have decided which kind of tumbler you want, look at the specific features of each. It's the little things that can make or break a design.

    For instance, compare the Envirocycle to the EZ Composter. The former has a hinged door. The latter has a round hatch with finely threaded screws. As a result, loading and unloading the Envirocycle is considerably easier than loading and unloading the EZ Composter, which has a hatch that is difficult to screw down even when the unit is new, let alone after dirt and debris clog the threads.

    Among center-axle types, some, such as the Tumbleweed, open at both ends, while others, such as the Urban compost Tumbler, open only atone end. Having openings on both ends makes loading and unloading simpler. However, the extra air flow of the UCT's patented core-aeration system, which precludes having both ends open, might he worth the trade-off.

    Capacity also can be an issue. Many models come in more than one size. At first blush, the larger size seems to make sense because it produces more compost in the same amount of time as a smaller one. But the larger one also might he heavier and more difficult to operate.

    There's another aspect of capacity to consider. Composting speed is a function of the last items to he added. That is, you won't get a full load of compost unless you've put in a full load of organic material. This doesn't mean you can't add material a little at a tune. What it does mean, however, is that "time to completion" is measured from the last of those small additions.

    Because of this, you may want to have more than one unit. Start by completely filling one with a mixture of brown and green compost material. Examples of brown material are fine mood chips, brown weeds, straw, leaves and kitchen scraps; examples of green material are grass clippings, green garden cast-offs and manure.

    While that batch "cooks," you can slowly fill another unit.

    This is the idea behind the ComposTwin: You can have one bin filled and composting while you are adding fresh ingredients to the second bin.

    Compost Tumbler Operating Factor

    Whichever unit you choose, you should be aware of certain operational factors:

    1) Ignore recommendations to use compost accelerators. About half the manufacturers still recommend this practice, yet study after study has shown that such additives have no appreciable effect on the composting process.

    2) The proportion of green material to brown is more crucial in a closed tumbler than in an open pile. If you don't add at least 40 percent browns, you'll end up with a slimy, smelly mess instead of compost.

    If nothing else is available, keep a bag of leaves or a bale of straw handy and use it as necessary to maintain the balance. In most cases where users have reported poor results, it turns out they have been adding only grass clippings and kitchen scraps to the unit.

    3) All tumblers are pest-proof to rodents, dogs and other animals — not to insects. When you open a tumbler, be prepared for a cloud of gnats to emerge. The fact is, these same gnats hover over open compost piles, but you are less aware of them because you don't encounter them in mass.

    4) Monitor the moisture content. Tumblers retain moisture letter than open piles, so you don't need to add much. Usually, grass clippings alone provide more than enough moisture. Your working pile should feel like a clamp sponge.

    If it's wetter than that, leave the door open awhile so it can dry out. Occasionally you may have to add a small amount of water. If so, add no more than a cup at a time, and be sure to tumble the contents after each addition.

    5) Air is crucial to the composting process. Periodically check to ensure the vents in your composter haven't been clogged by organic material. If you think the mix isn't getting enough air, rotate tile tumblers more frequently.

    Compost Tumbler Sources


    What is a Compost Tumbler?

    A compost tumbler is a compost bin designed to be rotated, so that materials inside are remixed for aeration and faster composting. Most are supported off the ground by a frame, so they can be situated on sealed pavement. The same materials that could be added to a regular compost pile can be added to a compost tumbler, and often the tumbler is able to heat and break down the material faster and with far less water than a pile. The result is a rich, uniform fertiliser for the plants in your garden. Compost tumblers are usually more expensive than regular compost bins but the utility they offer makes them well worth considering.

    I have seen a few different designs innovative people have implemented to get their compost tumbling. All will do the job just as well as a purchased one.

    Filling a Compost Tumbler

    All kitchen scraps, egg shells, weeds and prunings, grass clippings, leaves, newspapers and plain cardboard can be added to a compost tumbler, and a mix of all these ingredients plus a bit of soil makes for a good recipe.

    With one end closed, I fill my tumbler with all the compostable materials I’ve collected over one week. Kitchen scraps have been preserved in buckets with bokashi (no bad smells), egg shells have been left to dry out, newspapers and plain cardboard collected in a separate bin, and weeds and prunings collected in a bucket.

    My neighbour is a lawn-mower man by trade, and he’s allowed me to take as much grass clippings as I wish for my garden. It’s not a necessary ingredient in a compost tumbler, but I use a lot of it because I can. It allows the bin to heat up very quickly and very hot.

    I half-fill the compost tumbler with grass clippings, shred newspapers and cardboard before adding them, crush egg shells and add the carton as well, any weeds and prunings go in, and kitchen scraps are emptied in along with water from rinsing the buckets. I finish filling the bin with grass clippings then close the lid and tumble the bin until the materials are thoroughly mixed.

    When to Tumble a Compost Tumbler

    A good mix of materials will heat up as they begin to break down. This should happen within the first week after filling a compost tumbler. It is not necessary to tumble during this phase, and it may in fact cause the pile to cool down, which is undesirable. Allow the hot phase to persist, and when you notice a drop in temperature this is the time to tumble.

    After tumbling the first time, the material should heat up again, though its unlikely it will reach as high a temperature as during the first phase. Once again, wait until the temperature drops before tumbling again.

    After the second tumble, the material may not heat up again, and will most likely remain warm. This means it is still active, but active with a different group of bacteria and fungi to the first phase. The material breaks down slower in this phase, and oxygen should penetrate as the bacteria and fungi require, which means you shouldn t have to tumble again. From now until the compost is finished, only tumble if you detect a bad smell.

    A compost thermometer is a great tool for monitoring the activity of materials in a compost tumbler. I ve used one many times to determine the right time to tumble, and a good time to empty the bin.

    Emptying a Compost Tumbler

    To empty a compost tumbler, the best way is to lay a sheet of strong cardboard down underneath the bin, open one lid and tip the compost out. Pick up the cardboard and tip the compost into a wheelbarrow. It takes me a few tips to empty my compost tumblers. Be sure only to tip out what you can easily pick up and carry.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why compost in a compost tumbler?

    Traditional methods of composting usually involve rotating/turning a pile of built material, which is a back-breaking task. Compost tumblers make this job a hundred times easier.

    Consider using a compost tumbler if:

    • You dont have a space in your garden for a compost pile. Tumblers can be situated on paving or sealed concrete without making a mess.

    • Rats are being attracted to your compost pile. Tumblers are rat-proof.

    • You want to produce a lot of compost fast (like me!). Use your tumbler as I do, in conjunction with cardboard compost bins or other stationary bin, for a fast turn-over of compost.

    What can I compost in my compost tumbler?

    All organic materials can be composted, one way or another, but some materials require more time or more heat to break down properly.

    • In general, your compost tumbler can take all kitchen scraps, egg shells, weeds and prunings, grass clippings, leaves, newspapers and plain cardboard.

    • If you re certain your materials will heat above 50degC (thermophilic temperatures), you can also add meat and dairy waste, but add it after you ve mixed the normal ingredients, then bury the meat and dairy materials in the centre to ensure they are heated and broken down.

    • You can add branches or wood chips, but these take a long time to break down and will not be finished when everything else is ready. However, these materials will continue to break down after you ve applied your compost to your garden.

    • You can also add soil amendments to your compost, even though they will not break down. For example, I ve added clay, biochar and cuttlebone to my tumblers, so that they are mixed in with my compost when I spread it around my garden. They are also covered and filled with humus and moisture, ready to help my plants and soil grow. I ve also added leftover chicken manure pellets and super phosphate to my compost tumbler, so that it is not so concentrated when it ends up in my soil.

    • You can also add soil modifiers such as lime and sulphur to your compost tumbler, but these may hinder the composting activity, so it s best if possible to add the modifiers gradually and directly to your soil.

    How often should I tumble my compost tumbler?

    • When its first filled, to mix the materials thoroughly.

    • Again, once the initial heat phase begins to cool.

    • A third time, once the second heat phase begins to cool.

    • A fourth time, only if you detect a bad smell.

    Do I need to water my compost tumbler?

    Fruit and vegetable scraps have more than enough moisture in them to break down, as do fresh grass clippings and any other fresh plant material. Newspapers and cardboard might need to be moistened before adding, but consider there might be enough moisture from other materials to dampen them. It is better that your materials are too dry, so you can add a bit of water until it;s damp, than too wet, in which case you will have to tumble every day to avoid bad smells!

    When will my compost be ready?

    Your compost will be ready when it is dark brown or black and crumbly, cool, and smells earthy. You shouldn t be able to distinguish any of the original materials, and there shouldn t be signs of fungus or warmth which suggests it is still active. Even if it s warm, you can still add it to your soil, but it wont be ;plant-ready until it has finished breaking down. Allow three months for your tumbler to fully break down a batch.

    Should I keep adding to my compost tumbler?

    You certainly can add to your compost tumbler, though it is better to batch-fill, to take full advantage of the heat that can be generated. If you add materials gradually, you may not achieve high temperatures, and you will find it more and more difficult to tumble, as the weight of the material becomes concentrated into smaller particles.

    How much compost will I get from my compost tumbler?

    A nice mix of materials filled into your compost tumbler should reduce to between 1/4 and 1/3 the original volume in finished compost. In my experience, one batch can cover a 5 square meter garden bed a few centimetres thick.

    Why isn my compost heating up?

    The materials in your compost tumbler heat up as bacteria become active. Their activity depends on moisture, air, and a good mix of carbon-rich material and nitrogen-rich material.

    • Newspaper, cardboard, straw and other plant stalks are carbon-rich materials. Bacteria consume this for energy.

    • Leaves, grass-clippings, vegetable scraps and manure are nitrogen-rich materials. Bacteria consume this for protein.

    • Including a variety of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich material in your compost tumbler ensures bacteria have all they need to create compost.

    • Experiment with different amounts of materials until you find a recipe that suits you.

    The ideal moisture conditions in a compost pile is damp, but not sopping wet. If your pile is too wet, add dry shredded cardboard or newspaper and stir it through. Your amended pile will not likely reach thermophilic temperatures, but it should be saved from putrefaction!