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Dirty job, but somebody's got to

Compost is easy to make but it happens much faster and easier with a compost tumbler because you need to turn compost regularly to get oxygen into the mix.
You must tumble the contents of the bin five to 10 times every day or so, and the pile should feel warm, or about 160 degrees.

According to the instructions that came with one composter, the recipe to make a “batch” of compost is two parts of brown material like dead leaves to one part of green material like grass clippings and vegetable scraps.

Most things that have lived (not meat products) can be used, including lawn clippings, garden weeds (not seeds) and kitchen scraps. To get the heap working, add animal manure and, if you have them, some finely chopped leaves of either comfrey or yarrow which help to activate the compost pile. Grrow yarrow (Achillea), which is a drought-tolerant, flowering herb, as edging on a garden bed near your compost tumblers.

Wet green items break down quickly and need to be balanced with about one-third dry materials such as sawdust, dry leaves, shredded newspaper or tree clippings.

You’ll spend about $150 for a decent sized compost tumbler and $25 for Super Hot Compost Starter or similar. You will want something nice to keep your kitchen scraps until they make it to the compost tumbler – a stoneware crock peruaps, and some Biobag liners — $23.95 for a pack of 100 — and charcoal filters to reduce the smell (another $6.95 for a pack of two).

Composting might be a fad now, but it isn’t new. Prehistoric people discovered that a mixture of manure and crop residue turned into more fertile material than either one alone. Farmers composted for eons until the 20th century, when synthetic fertilizers were pronounced superior by the agricultural powers that be.

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3 Responses to “Compost tumblers for best results”

  1. Thom Lindgren

    I am using a tumbler composter that I got from Costco. I am doing the once a day tumbling of 4 to 6 revolutions and I am finding that I can actually pull out a 5 gal bucket of compost every couple of days with no real issues for quality. My tumbler doesn’t seem to be reaching that ideal temp but still giving good results. I find that I keep my kitchen scrapes in a resealable plastic bag and keep that in my freezer. I chop of the scraps prior to dumping in the composter. Speeds up the process. I am trying to find a solar powered tumbling composter that will do a continuous rotation while the sun is out. I haven’t been able to find anything on this… any ideas if this is an option or who I might talk with about it. Any help or info would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  2. Nick Rosen

    You need to turn it once a day, 5 or 10 revolutions

    Reply
  3. CompostScoop

    Nice Post. Quick question: Do you really need to turn the compost tumberl 5 to 10 times a day? If you turn it fewer times how much does it slow down the process?

    Reply

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