Cool Member
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:53 pm
Location: Littlerock, CA USDA 9a 3,ooo ft Elevation

Anything positive regarding compost tumblers?

I have inherited an old school compost tumbler, I already have a nice three bin set up that suits my gardening needs. I am wondering if there is something I can do with the tumbler to put it to work. Is there a specialty composting task, worm bin or something else I can be using it for? Any ideas are welcome.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2661
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

If you have bins, it will mostly sit idle. Tumblers work best in the north when a bin may be a longer hike than you want to do. It can reside in winter near to a back door and be loaded conveinently.

Over the years I inherited several tumblers (the foreshadowing of that fact aught to tell you a lot). They were never adequate to my need.

The last couple ended up as a wintertime holding tumbler for kitchen waste. In order to speed breathing of the things, I drilled a few hundred extra holes.

Bigger tumblers on taller roller-rigs are more desirable, and will work almost as quickly as advertised.

All require being perfectly loaded with perfectly chopped yard-kitchen waste, in order to function at all.

I found that freezing my kitchen waste and then thawing (and draining) it made it less wet and let the bin work a bit better.

Posts: 14048
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

They don't make a lot of compost and we had to drill extra holes in ours because it got very stinky when someone put in some almost liquified vegetable waste in it.

Instead of using it for compost it did have some limited use as a potting soil blender. I put the peat, perlite, fertilizer and vermicast (when I have it ) in the tumbler and use that to blend the potting mix. Then I can store it in wheeled trash cans for when I need it. A small cement mixer works too and that is what they use at the garden. Otherwise, I would mix a five gallon bucket at a time but it would not always get blended evenly.

Cool Member
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:53 pm
Location: Littlerock, CA USDA 9a 3,ooo ft Elevation

Thank you for the great suggestions. Maybe the soil mixer would be more practical for me at this point since I already have a successful three bin set up. Who knows, necessity is the mother of invention.

Greener Thumb
Posts: 970
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: MO

It could also be used as a rotary screener if you cut some large holes in the sides and put screen (chicken wire or hardware cloth) over them. Depending on how it's designed and whether you really need sifted compost.

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