Gardeners love compost! Most of us have experimented with heaps and chicken wire bins. The job is sometimes smelly, and quite labor intensive as you need to go out periodically and turn it with a pitch fork.
In addition to these drawbacks, compost also takes months to form using the traditional bin methods. These traditional methods are called passive methods. An active, managed method, such as using a compost tumbler, can cut this time down to three weeks.
A compost tumbler is a barrel that sits up on a base. Your grass clippings, kitchen vegetable wastes, and other compostables go into the compost tumbler, where you can give it a few turns with a simply designed handle.
The big difference in making compost in a compost tumbler is that the optimum amount of air gets into the picture. The air that is worked into the compost with each turn of the compost tumbler helps the microbes grow.
These growing microbes result in quicker deterioration and hotter temperatures inside the compost tumbler. This forms a cycle which really speeds things up! A compost tumbler keeps things brewing at a temperature between 104 and 131 degrees F, which is the optimum range for decomposition to occur.
Making compost in a traditional pile requires a great deal of debris. A four foot square pile three or four feet high is necessary for the required amount of heat to form in the center. With a compost tumbler, compost can be made in much smaller batches on an ongoing basis. This is good news for anyone who is getting a little older, or never had much physical strength to start with.
Turning a four foot pile can be pretty hard on the muscles. In addition, it takes a long time to get that much organic material together, and all the while, you’re supposed to be burying your kitchen wastes under 8 inches of other materials. With a compost tumbler, you can just toss the kitchen waste into the barrel and that’s that.
A compost tumbler has other advantages over a homemade bin or simple pile. For one thing, rats and dogs can’t get into it and make a mess. Also, a compost tumbler looks a lot neater, which helps to keep the neighbors and the city happier.
A final plus is that the moisture and smell of the composting materials stays inside the closed container of the compost tumbler. The only drawback of a compost tumbler is that you have to pay $150 or more to get started, but it should give you years of service for that moderate investment.