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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Compost Tumbler - Part 1

My usual method of making compost is to pile it up in some designated bins in the vegetable garden and let all those micro organisms slowly do their thing.

I don't pay much attention to green material versus brown material. I just throw in whatever I have, including weeds, leaves, rotten vegetables, more weeds, trimmings, weeds, old potting soil, etc.

Then I wait all season until finally in the fall, I harvest the black gold, my own compost.

But I never seem to have enough compost and I only have it in the fall. So I am trying out a compost tumbler to see if I can get more compost faster out of my garden waste.

What does a compost tumbler look like all packed up and ready to ship? As you can see above, it looks pretty much like a 'compost tumbler', if one knows what one looks like. Mine came just as you see it, wrapped up in plastic with a shipping label on it.

I wonder what the delivery person thought was in that package as he or she carried it up to my door? It is an unusual package, but I've had other funny looking packages delivered to my doorstep before, so perhaps they never even gave it a second thought.

This one came from World's Best Organic Compost Tumbler.

Today, I set it up, single-handedly. It was pretty easy to do because I used a socket wrench on the six bolts that are needed to put together the stand and mount the tumbler on the stand.

The most difficult part was actually mounting the tumbler on the stand. I did it by myself and it took a few tries, but with a second person holding the tumbler in place, it would have been easier to do.

Total assembly time for me was about 35 minutes, but again, with a second person helping, it would have taken a little less time.

After I assembled it, I moved it on a flat bed garden cart out to the vegetable garden.

I'm all ready to fill it up and commence to making some compost.

But the instructions say you'll get the best results with a 50/50 mix of green versus brown plant material and by filling it up all at once. Shoot. I won't have enough green plant material until later this month. Then I'll either have to bag the grass the first time I cut it or hope for enough weeds to pull to get the amount of green material I think I'll need to make my first batch of compost. I prefer not to hope for weeds, so I'll use grass clippings.

So, that's why this is "part 1". Watch for "part 2" later this spring when I have enough green plant material to fill my new compost tumbler. Then I'll post "part 3" when I harvest my first batch of tumbled compost.


Gina said...

carol - congrats on your new composter! it looks like a great one! actually it looks sorta like my rain barrel attached to a stand. i can't wait to see your first batch! did it say how long it takes to cook it?

Kathy said...

I always wondered how well those would work. Now you can experiment for me. Who knows, you may end up with 3 or 4 of them, having different stages of compost.
Kathy, the older sister

Annie in Austin said...

Does anyone in your family cook, Carol? Maybe they can set up donation bowls of vegetable trimmings for Aunt Carol ;-]

I'm really impressed you put that thing together by yourself.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Melanie said...

Now I can't wait to google this product. I've been wanting one of these tumblers for many years now.

We have a large compost heap here but it's a slow one as it's in a shady location and I don't ever get as many greens as browns.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I like the new compost tumbler. I bet it will work so much better than my trash can. I saved my hay bale from fall and am layering that. I'm even putting some veggie scraps in the blender to chop them really fine. But I am not going to roll that thing around the yard. I would much prefer a tumbler like yours.

I can't wait to see how long it actually takes for you to get compost.

Leslie said...

I'm so glad you're test driving that composter for us...I'll be waiting for part 2 of your a couple months or so??

Petunia's Gardener said...

Congratulations! That is a funny delivery package. It looks like an updated version of the one we found at a local hardware store years ago. I throw stuff in as I get it and dump it out now and then! Not very scientific, but it works. About once a year, I empty all of it, but often, I'm emptying some and adding new to already baked. Seem to be able to take out some whenever I like.

Enjoy! Paula

Mary said...

This is the first I've heard of a compost tumbler. Great idea! I'm more impressed with the fact that you assembled it by yourself.

I hope it works the way you expect it to. Maybe you can invite some neighbors to fill it up quickly.

My word verification is vnSTIR.

PondPlant Girl said...

Carol: Love your composting blog. I have 3 dogs, 2 fish, and 2 dozen fish. So, there's lots of you-know-what going on. I plan on making a composting pile and have heard a lot of good things about tumblers. Would love to have your blog on my website!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Seems like a mighty fine looking compost tumbler ifI ever saw one. Most jobs are easier with another set of hands but you seemed to do ok. Good job putting it together.

I will be very curious to hear the result of this experiment. I am of the pile it up and leave it method. I would love to have more compost.

Carol said...

Gina... They didn't say how long it would take. That will depend on what I put in it. Stay tuned.

Kathy... 3 or 4 of them? I don't know about that, but I'll let you know how this one works out.

Annie in Austin... It would take a lot of cooking to fill this thing! And thanks, I do like to put things together, especially when I can use tools like wrenches.

Melanie... I think most gardeners have trouble finding enough greens. I'll be posting later on how this works out.

Robin's Nesting Place... That's quite ambitious to grind up your veggie scraps before you compost them!

Leslie... Part 2 will hopefully be before the end of March, when I finally have enough green plant material to add to the brown.

Petunia's Gardener (Paula)... That sounds quite encouraging.

Mary... Isn't it funny how we get "messages" in the word verifiations? I should keep track of those. I love to put things together. Got anything for me to build for you?

Pondplant Girl (Gail)... Welcome and I'll be around to visit your blog soon. One thing, you shouldn't compost dog poo, since they eat meat.

Lisa at Greenbow... Thanks, and hopefully I'll have some extra compost soon!

Thanks all for the comments and come back later for Part 2 when I actually load the tumbler up with a 50/50 mix.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Jane Marie said...

I'm so glad you wrote about compost. It's something I have always wanted to start but I feel so inadequate. I read and read about it and then never do it. The tumblers have always looked liked the best way to go. I'll follow along with you and maybe learn something that makes sense to me. Thanks for your post.