Any thoughts on compost tumblers?

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

This is my year to try and educate myself about composting. In my ongoing pursuit to maximize my time and energy, and to make things as low maintenance as possible
(Not sure how it happened but I'm 57 now), I'm looking at compost tumblers and wondering how well they do the job and if people like them? .....Sure would love to hear your thoughts on the subject and if you have a favorite.....or least favorite, compost tumbler. :)

-- Glenda :)

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Best Compost Tumbler - Soil Forum - GardenWeb‎

Oct 28, 2008 - 22 posts - ‎15 authors
Hi all. I am thinking of purchasing a compost tumbler, but would like to know if there are any recommendations on what brand. Any particular ..Glenda here is some info. The other thing you can do is google Compost tumblers and you can see every kind known to man lol..

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Thanks eweed!! Sure appreciate your help. I went to your link and did some reading. I also spent the evening reading up on all forms of composting. I think I'll pass on the tumbler. It doesn't look like it's the best way to go. I DID find the technique in this article interesting. It's the only place I've found this way of composting described. If you can, check it out and let me know what you think. Supposedly, it's faster, hotter, and without turning. :)

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

here is what i did, simple, yet useful for my small scale veggie patch, lol

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Glenda looks good to me especially if you have the kind of yard that you can keep it out of sight. The only thing that I don't care for about this is your inability to prevent varmints from feeding on your kitchen scraps while they decompose. I would give this a try if I were you. because it's cheap and will make a good deal compost at one time compared to the tumbler.

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

jmc1987, micro-composting? It works and is easy to turn, I'm sure, but I need something on a bigger scale. ;) LOL

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

lol oh yes i am sure, wasnt quite sure about how much growing room you had, my garden bed is about 6FT X 6FT.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> to make things as low maintenance as possible

That might be some variation on spot composting, sheet composting or "lasagna gardening".

If you're making a new bed, lay the materials you planned to compost IN the bed, and mix some soil with them and a little over on top of them, burying them shallowly . Let them compost in the root zone, mixed with soil, but aerobically (don't add a thick layer of heavy clay on top).

Or spread the materials on top of the soil and let them decompose and leach down into the soil, or be consumed by worms and mixed that way. To keep it pretty and keep the "raw compost" moist, mulch over top of the sheet compost.

Or dig holes or trenches between rows of established plants, and bury some compost in each hole. (Spot composting.)

"Lasagna gardening" seems designed to start a NEW, RAISED bed if you don't want to dig out existing grass or weeds, and don't want to turn or till the underlying soil. That's minimum effort! I haven;t done it myself, but they lay down corrugated cardboard or multiple layers of newspaper on top of the weeds or grass. This is supposed to block weeds and attract worms. Then they lay a thick layer of compostable material on top of the cardboard, plus maybe some soil or peat on top of that.

As I understand it, they have very good success growing plants the very first year on top of what I think of as a shallow compost heap! My experience with my regular compost would support that: plants that were dieing elsewhere usually thrive when I give up on them and toss them onto my compost heap!

My own practice is just "pile stuff in a heap behind some bushes so the neighbors don't complain much". I usually acquire mostly-brown stuff all at once, so the pile is usually too brown. "Balancing it with greens" means adding kitchen scraps or food stand throw-outs when i have them.

"Turning the pile" mostly means pulling out sticks and digging in a little ways to hide the kitchen scraps when I add them. And the pile gets some turning when i dig finished compost out. A few times per year, when I want to play with the heap, I do a little pitchfork work or "pull one side up over the other side" with a cultivator.

My pile is small enough that the main "turning" it needs comes form the fact that twigs and coarse things tend to accumulate on the outside of the pile, where they dry out. I need to re-bury them, which I do by raking them off the pile to on side, then scraping the more-finished compost over on top of them.

Nature seems to do the rest.

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