If you’re looking to turn your garbage into gardener’s gold and do it in a hurry, then you should try a compost tumbler. If you have a compost bin then you know how great it is to add compost to your flower beds and vegetable garden. But making compost takes time and it’s usually in short supply. A compost tumbler is a great time saver when making compost.
Some gardeners believe that compost is better than fertilizer because it doesn’t just feed your plants, it also improves your soil. Improving your soil keeps your plants healthier so they grow stronger and more capable of fighting off diseases or beating droughts. Compost is decomposed organic matter and is high in nutrients that plants love. Bacteria and other micro organisms help break down that decomposing organic matter and their short life cycles become part of the process itself. When they reproduce their offspring continue the process while the parents bodies break down and add to the organic matter. It’s nature’s way of recycling.
Creating compost will usually take a couple of months. If you get the ratio of browns to greens right, turn the pile to keep it aerated and don’t let it dry out you’ll be rewarded with fresh earthy compost. The more you tend your compost pile, the quicker your garden waste will become compost. Neglect the pile and it will still become compost but it’ll take a lot longer. For an example of this examine the rich soil in a forest. As leaves and tree litter fall to the ground, there isn’t anyone there making sure it’s the same wetness as a wrung out sponge. But by the time the next season rolls around, a lot of those leaves have begun decomposing and in the process, they’re feeding the trees and the cycle continues without any help from man.
The gardening season can be very short depending on where you live. In the Northeast we have about 4 months of time to grow the flowers, fruits and vegetables that we love. So unless you have a huge bin of compost ready to go on the first day of spring you’ll need some more during the growing season. A compost tumbler is perfect for making compost fast. Now you probably won’t make enough compost to fill new beds but the amount you can make is perfect to give your plants and nice top dressing.
Or if you are a composter with a pest problem, the compost tumbler will keep the critters out of your pile. The most popular tumblers are sealed up and only have holes for air. If rodents or snakes have been problems for you in the past then the compost tumbler is the solution that you’ve been looking for.
There’s a few things you’ll need to do a little differently if you’re used to bin composting. First off, you’ll need to add all the raw materials at once. Don’t continue adding or else your compost will never be done. Add what you want and then start turning. Try to turn it everyday. If not everyday then at least a few times a week. The first few batches will take the longest unless you already have some compost that you can toss into the tumbler. Or you can use a compost activator. That’s all activators really are anyway. Just someone’s else’s compost to help get your pile started. The bacteria and micro organisms have to get in there somehow.
Be sure not to over water when using a compost tumbler. Moisture doesn’t escape as easily inside the tumbler as with a regular compost bin. And most likely your ingredients such as grass clippings or coffee grinds were already moist to begin with.
After about 3 weeks the compost should start to look like compost. It should be an even color and you shouldn’t be able to tell what you put in the tumbler. If your waste is still recognizable then let it decompose a while longer. And don’t forget to smell your compost. It should have a nice earthy smell to it.
If you’re looking for a neat & compact composting solution that works quickly and won’t receive a lot of attention from your neighbors, then look into a compost tumbler. You’ll be tumbling your way to a great garden this season.
Anthony Tripodi is the webmaster of WatchItRot.com - The Compost Guide. For more information about Compost Tumblers and all of your composting and gardening needs, please visit http://www.watchitrot.com.
[tags]compost, compost tumbler[/tags]