Advice When Using Compost Tumblers


Compost tumblers can come in very handy for you and your family’s composting needs, but before you buy one, you should understand the optimal ways to use your product. The last thing you want is to invest into a good quality tumbler that you don’t use properly and you’re left with a pile of material that has rotted down, is wet, and stinks.

You want clean material that is good to use every two to three weeks or so, and a tumbler is a great idea to make that a reality.

Below is some sound advice from Compost Bin HQ to help you get the most out of your tumbler.

Get a Compost Activator
Composting is a process that occurs because of the living decomposers in nature – these properties won’t exist in your new tumbler. You want your compost to take off once you put the material in your tumbler for the first time, but in order to accomplish that goal, you need a compost activator, healthy soil, or horse manure. Use it for the first couple batches you create and be sure to not clean your tumbler between batches as the bits left behind will help with future batches. Also, be aware that your first few batches of compost will take longer to break down, so have more patience early on.

Add Small Pieces
Help the composting process along by breaking down your kitchen and yard material – chop, shred, dice, do whatever it takes so that the bacteria and fungi decompose everything quicker. A food processor is useful, as are shears or pruners, or even a knife so that tiny chunks can be effectively deposited into your tumbler.

Carbon-Nitrogen Ratio of About 25
To ensure you get a finished product every two to three weeks to use as fertilizer, you need the right composition of nitrogen-rich green material and carbon-rich brown material – a ratio of 1 part nitrogen to 25 parts carbon. This is the mix you are looking at using every time you put a new batch into your tumbler to ensure you get the high-quality material you want in the end, in the timeline we outlined.

Use the Right Amount
You want your tumbler to be almost full when you create a new batch, and then let it do its thing. You can add more material to it over the span of a few days, but keep in mind that the two to three-week timeline of the end-result starts when your last pieces of material go into your tumbler.

Turn Your Tumbler
So how often should you turn your tumbler to ensure optimal compost results? You should look to turn it every day or every other day at the very least. By doing this you will keep the aeration high so that it moves the process along as it needs. Be sure to get one that you can turn easily as each tumbler is different and some models don’t turn that well.

Get the Moisture Level Right
Depending on your local weather at the time, you need to make sure that the moisture level in your tumbler is consistent and not too wet or too dry. If the material gets too wet it will smell bad and if the material is too dry then it won’t break down properly. Add water if the material gets too dry and add shredded paper, sawdust, or wood stove pellets if the material gets too wet to dry it out. It will take some experimentation before you recognize the ideal moisture level but you will figure it out after a few batches.

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