Whether you have a small or a big garden, a little more compost is always good. Even if you’re buying compost and other fertilizers, creating some at home will only help you. You can start composting in a tumbler bin which you can put in a corner, dump your kitchen waste into it and let it prepare compost for your plants.

What is a Compost Tumbler?

A compost tumbler is a cylindrical composting bin which is built for decomposing organic waste and providing us with compost. The best part about a compost tumbler is that it has a rotating mechanism which allows us to turn the compost very easily, without getting dirty.

Why Use a Compost Tumbler?

Using a compost tumbler comes with its own set of benefits over traditional methods:

  • Faster Composting Time: Compost tumblers get the compost ready in a lower time frame as compared to normal ways of composting because it’s easier to maintain moisture and air inside the compost.
  • No Need for Manual Turning: The compost tumbler comes with a rotating mechanism to turn the compost which makes the process more efficient.
  • No Odors/Smell: Although bad smell shouldn’t be a problem in a healthy compost, but still, compost tumbler are designed in a way that smell doesn’t escape out of the bin. This makes compost tumbler a good choice for people composting in urban areas.
  • Space-saving: Compost tumblers don’t occupy much space and can fit in the minimal space. They are excellent choice for people having limited space.
  • Pests and Rodents: Compost tumblers have a lid and are usually lifted from the ground which makes them safe from pests and rodent attack.

The Cons of Compost Tumblers

  • The price is high: Tumbler bins can cost from $50 to $500 depending on the size and structure which is very high for a lot of people.
  • Limited in capacity: Tumbler bins have a very limited capacity as it’s an enclosed bin. You can prepare small amount of organic matter to decompose in it.
  • Mechanical Failures: Compost tumbler bins have moving parts which can break down leading to unefficient working of the bin. It can also cost very high to get them repaired sometimes.

How to Use a Compost Tumbler

Using a compost tumbler is one of the easiest way of composting. Follow these steps to start preparing your compost in a tumbler bin:

  1. Choose a good location: Place your compost in an area which is in your easy reach and doesn’t disturb your daily routine, do not place it in direct sunlight as it might dry out the compost inside it and make the composting slower.
  2. Add the material for composting: Start adding organic waste you want to compost. Its important that you add a mixture of greens and browns so that you maintain a good balance of Carbon Nitrogen ratio.
  3. Add Compost Accelerators: Compost accelerators speed up the process of composting but make sure you add the accelerator as per the instructions given by the manufacturer.
  4. Make the compost wet: Spray some water over the compost. Do not spray too much, just a little bit so there is some water in the pile. Also, keep a check of moisture in the compost to make sure that the compost don’t dry out.
  5. Turn the tumbler: Now close the lid of the bin and rotate the tumbler to mix everything well in the pile.
  6. Harvest the compost: Your compost will be ready within 6-7 weeks depending on the size and handeling of the compost. Open the tumbler door and take your compost out and then either you can mature the compost

Choosing the Right Compost Tumbler

When choosing a compost tumbler, consider the following factors:

  • Size of the bin: Its imortant that you choose the bin of the right size. If you have a big garden then choose a big tumbler to prepare compost and if you have problem with space, you can go for a smaller tumbler bin.
  • Design & Structure: Compost tiumbler comes in different designs and structures like horizontal and vertical. Choose your bin that fits your space perfectly and easiest for you to use.

Safe and Effective Materials for Composting in a Tumbler

When it comes to composting in a tumbler bin, you can be specific about what you put in it to get results faster. Here are a few materials which are easier to decompose in a tumbler bin:

Brown Materials

  • Dry leaves
  • Straw
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Cardboard (shredded or cut into small pieces)
  • Paper towels and napkins (unbleached)

Green Materials

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps (except for citrus and onions)
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Grass clippings
  • Garden waste (e.g. weeds, plant trimmings)
  • Eggshells (crushed)
  • Fresh manure (horse, cow, chicken)

Other Materials

  • Wood ash (in moderation)
  • Seaweed and kelp (rinsed)
  • Hair and fur (shredded or cut into small pieces)
  • Fireplace ashes (in moderation)
  • Sawdust (in moderation)

Materials to Avoid

To make sure the compost you get from a tumbler bin is good and healthy, avoid adding these materials in the tumbler bin for good composting:

  • Meat, fish, and dairy products
  • Fats, oils, and grease
  • Citrus and onion scraps
  • Diseased or insect-infested plants
  • Pet waste (such as dog or cat feces)
  • Coal or charcoal ash

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