Composting: Tumble Method

I believe that composting must be both an art and a science because there are so many conflicting viewpoints. So, you all know that I bought this barrel composter essentially for what it would have cost me to build it. I thought you might benefit from some of my research into this method of composting. 

Since they all have finer points, I’ll tell you what I got out of my research:

1. Tumble composting is faster (Usually 30 days start to finish.) than bin composting. Smaller batches, but less work and somewhat more reliable. It is odorless and effectively eliminates the potential for varmints like rats and mice to be drawn to your compost site.

2. Use 1/2 “brown” material (Think dry leaves, sawdust, and stems.) and 1/2 “green” material (Think kitchen scraps, egg shells, garden refuse – no meat or dairy products.). Add water, tumble, if it wrings out like a damp mop you have it right.

3. Turn it once a week or daily anyway you can to get it to mix.

4. You can make it in one batch or add to it daily or whenever.

5. If it smells bad – not earthy – add more brown material.

6. New barrel? Until you get it broke in and have some start up microbes add some compost or beer to it to start the process.

FYI Mine has been going for less than a week and is very warm,

so I know it is cooking!

HERE is a link to a pdf from a nursery about tumble composting.

And HERE is a link to an informative article

on tumble composting.

compost barrel handles

I just added stubs of wood to mine as handles to make it easier to turn. What you don’t see are all of the holes drilled in it and inside there are some cleats to help turn the compost.

I see no reason why a five gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid with holes drilled around it could not be used for a small kitchen scrap composter by the back door. I’m thinking about trying it.  :-D


A Variety of Tumbling Composters

Go 3 mins. 40 seconds in for the composter. Note that she doesn’t have holes drilled in this one, but I think she has some good ideas here.

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