Compost Tumbler: Advantages
compost tumbler provides a great way to reduce household waste, provide
nutrients for your garden vegetables and flowers, and reduce your
carbon footprint all at the same time. We've put together
information here to help you understand the value of composting and get
you started on what is now a global effort to reduce carbon emissions
as well as to make your life more sustainable.
Amazing Benefits of Composting
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
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
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
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
expensive store bought fertilizer. You are moving one more
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
disadvantages, such as odors, a messy looking yard, and unwanted vermin
feeding or nesting in the pile. There is a much better,
and cleaner way to creat compost. That is with a device known
a compost tumbler. The compost tumbler makes it super easy to
create the conditions needed to create compost in quick
Organic matter such as food waste, fruit peels and grass clippings need
air and a modest amount of moisture to decompost properly.
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
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
a handle or crank on one end. The unit will have an opening
will allow addition and removal of material from the
This opening will be able to close tightly to prevent the compost from
spilling out during the turning process. The cylinder will
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
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
seems like more and more people every day are asking "What's the best
way to get rid of my left over kitchen waste...?"
for considering composters
It is important to understand how and why using composters
will improve the quality of your soil with the least amount of time and
effort. Healthy soil provides a stable base for plants to
and yet is loose enough for roots to penetrate, well drained, and rich
in organic matter. Good soil will be porous with spaces
the particles for air and water to move freely. Healthy soil
actually have as much as 25% air, 25% water, 45% minerals and 5%
organic matter. The air spaces are important because they
water to travel freely and carry nutrients to the roots of your
plants. A healthy soil will also have a pH of between 6.5 and
7.5. This is the optimum level of acidity for nutrients to be
available for root absorbtion. If you don't know what pH is,
don't worry too much. Unless you have extreme conditions,
bottomland or raw desert land that rarely gets rain, your soil can most
likely be easily conditioned to grow the kind of garden you want by
Here we are going to describe the process of
turning a soil that is not so good into a rich thriving medium in which
garden plants can grow to their full potential. Let's assume
soil is fairly well drained, but low in organic matter. It
rich in clay, which impedes root growth. Or it may be sandy, which will
drain too quickly and doesn't ratain enough water to support your
plants. The addition of organic material greatly facilitates
root penetration and water retention. There are several ways
adding organic matter to your soil to improve these
One way is to add organic matter such as grass clippings, straw, leaves
or any other fibrous organic material directly to the soil, mix it in,
and allow it to decompose in place. This is a very common
practice. The main disadvantage is that it takes a long time,
to a year in some cases. You could still grow plants in your
garden during this year. They just wouldn't be quite as
the first year. Another way of adding organic matter would be
plant a cover crop, preferrably in the late summer or fall, and work it
into the soil in the spring with a rototiller. A good choice
crop for this purpose would be a legume, such as peas.
have a nitrogen fixing capacity that can take nitrogren directly from
the air and incorporate it into their growth structure. This
very common practice among organic farmers. And of course,
can just buy compost or topsoil and add it to your garden. In
fact, there is an entire industry centered around collecting compost
from households, composting it in huge quantities, and selling
commercially as compost for garden soil.
However, for most people, composters
are probably the most convenient and economical way of improving soil
quality. Composters serve several purposes at once.
take unwanted organic matter from the yard and kitchen and
instead of you paying to have it hauled off it is turned into a
nutrient rich conditioner for your garden soil. In addition
saving you money, the process reduces your carbon footprint, as a
result of less energy used to haul this stuff away. The
remarkable attribute of composters is the short amount of time it takes
to create compost.
There are a number of types of composters
available for purchase, in addition to plans for building your
own. The compost tumbler is the quickest method because it
the compost evenly, distributes the heat and creates optimum conditions
for the decomposition process to occur. This type of
can create a batch of compost for you in as little as four
We will delve further into the details below...
makes great flower gardens. Your flowers will love you for
compost tumbler is the best solution to reducing your food waste stream.
Perhaps by now you have heard of the compost
You may be wondering what all the buzz is about. After all,
gardeners have been creating compost for their gardens for
centuries. Well the compost tumbler makes the process
tremendously more efficient and effortless. These composters
transform what essentially begins as garbage into a natural, organic,
healthy fertilizer for your garden at no cost. And the
can take as little as three weeks. The effort required is
minimal. You will be adding your kitchen food scraps and yard
waste into the drum at the beginning and during the composting process
and removing it at the end of three or four weeks and this is the bulk
of the effort required. The only other thing you will be
is turning the handle every few days.
What makes it work so well is
the tumbling action. This tumbling action mixes the material
and breaks it down into smaller pieces. The conditions are
perfect for decomposition of the organic matter inside. The
composting process generates a little bit of heat, and the turning
process distributes this heat so that no one part of the mass is too
hot or too cool. It even works in the winter time, although
temperatures are too cold the process is slowed down a bit.
openings in the drum provide air for healthy composting, but yet are
small enough to prevent vermin from getting inside. You want
fill the drum only about three fifths full so as to allow enough space
for the turning action to work properly.
Once you get into the routine of using it, a compost tumbler
will provide you with hundreds of pounds of compost for your garden
throughout the year.
A quaint English garden fed entirely by compost.
More Tips on Composters
has been happening for millions of years, and is one of the most
natural processes in the world. The leaves fall to the forest
floor, and in time turn into a nutrient rich material referred to as
humus. The manure pile over time turns into composted
To make compost all it takes is to pile up any
and all types of organic matter from grass clippings to leaves to fruit
peels and leftover food and even paper.
Mother Nature does her work and the degrading action of bacteria will
change it into a compost, which is the natural organic food for plant
life. We can be thankful for this process, because without
compost, there would be no soil, and without soil, no life.
the natural process as described and practiced above takes time,
perhaps up to a year or more. With certain modifications of
composting process, we can greatly speed up the process and provide
compost in a timely manner for our gardening schedule. We
describe some of those modifications here.
Getting the right
mixture of ingredients will help make sure it heats up sufficiently and
breaks down the fibrous material properly. Getting the proper
ratio of brown, carbon material to green nitrogen material will make a
huge difference on the efficiency of the composting process.
microorganisms in the compost bin generally require about 1 part of
green nitrogen material for about 30 parts of brown, carbon
material. Too much brown leafy material will take too long to
break down, and too much green material will result in a slimy messy
mass that doesnít break down well. If you can get close to
ratio and do the other steps properly, you will be ok on proper
breakdown in a reasonable time frame.
Turning the compost more
often will greatly help speed up the process. There are two
reasons for this. The first reason is that the microorganism
air to work properly, and turning provides and distributes air
evenly. The other reason why this is important is to
the heat evenly. The composting process produces heat, and
really hot spots develop, the microorganisms cannot thrive as
well. The more even the heat distribution, the
These microorganisms like to work best at around 110 Ė 120 degrees
F. For composters,
easiest way to achieve even and frequent turning is to use a compost
tumbler. This device basically consists of a cylinder mounted
horizontally on a shaft that can be turned so that the material
ďtumblesĒ inside. This action not only provides air and
distributes heat, but also helps break down the material more quickly.
next important thing to pay attention to is moisture content.
compost should be around 50-60 percent moisture. An easy way
gauge moisture content is to take a handful of the material from the
center of the pile or drum and squeeze it. If you can squeeze
water out of it, itís too wet. If it does not release water,
it crumbles apart when released, then itís too dry. If itís
wet, you can simply add more dry leaves or other organic material to
soak up the excess water.
Shredding some or all of the material
will also greatly decrease the amount of time it takes to make
compost. Shredding increases the surface area of the
giving more surface area for the microorganisms to work with.
you are short on nitrogen material, such as in the autumn leaf raking
season, the addition of some alfalfa meal will make up for
lack of green nitrogen material and greatly enhance the process.
more than one batch of compost in progress will also enhance the
process. There are compost tumblers on the market that
have two sides, so that while one side will be in the later stages of
the process, new raw material can be added to the other side.
We hope these tips about composters