Compost Tumblers - A Brief Overview

What Are They and How Do They Work?

The theory behind compost tumblers is to tumble the compost so it stays aerated and decomposes faster.  You put all of your refuse with a little organic compost material into the ball or drum and tumble it in one of several ways.  It doesn’t take a lot of energy or time to produce good quality organic compost for your garden.  In your compost making efforts, you might find this is the best way to go, especially if your time and/or energy  are  limited.

The Ball Compost Tumbler. . .

The most basic of the compost tumblers is simply a ball or drum that you fill with compost making materials and roll around the yard from time to time.

This would be a good project for your children, if you have any!  These balls aren’t set upon a base, like some of the other compost tumblers.  One advantage is that you can roll them wherever you need them.

The Drum Compost Tumbler. . .

One of the rolling styles that has a base is simply a drum or barrel set on a base that either has or doesn’t have rollers to facilitate the rolling process. Sometimes they will have a place for your feet so you can sit there and rotate the drum with your feet.  Later when the compost is ready, you can put it on the ground and roll it to your garden location.

A little more sophisticated are the drums that sit above the ground and have a pole that runs in the center.  They can either be mounted horizintally or vertically, with the horizontal mounted ones being easier to rotate than the vertical ones, as they tend to become very heavy when full.

The Hand-Cranked Gear-Driven Compost Tumbler. .

The most sophisiticated styles are the compost tumblers that are operated with a crank.  These tumblers sit on an above-ground frame, normally with rollers, and they are driven by a hand-cranked gear-driven system.

The main benefit of these compost tumblers is their ease of use.  Some have internal baffles to mix the compost materials better and, since they sit higher on the ground, they are easy to unload into your wheel barrow or whatever.

Kitchen Composting. . .Compost Crocks and Compost Pails

Hand-in-hand with the compost tumblers are the kitchen composters, such as  compost crocks and pails.  The crocks are really nice and look like a cute cookie jar sitting on your counter.

You can stash your daily organic material in these kitchen compost containers until you can make a trip to the compost bin, tumbler, etc., of your choice.  Look for the ones that  come with replacable filters to control odor.

compost tumblersThe compost pails hold 3 quarts of kitchen refuse and are very attractive stoneware or stainless steel.  They come with dual charcoal filters that last from 2 – 6 months depending upon the amount of your kitchen scraps. Also, they are dishwasher safe, which is handy.

It’s not hard to learn how to compost, whatever method you use.  Which one do you prefer?

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