About Compost Tumblers
We started Compost Tumbler Reviews because we've been interested in composting for a while, and now we finally have a house in an area where we can work on being a little more green. Our family has looked at compost piles and being able to recycle our own waste materials through the process of composting but after investigating further, we decided to go with a compost tumbler.
A compost tumbler is very similar to the more familiar compost bin in that you throw all your waste scraps into it and wait for nature to take it's course and turn all those scraps into nutrient rich compost that plants absolutely love. The big difference between a compost bin and a compost tumbler is that compost tumblers get by a lot of the problems posed by people interested in recycling that intend on using a compost bin.
Some areas restrict open composting and keeping bins out in the open. Neighbors sometimes have a problem with compost heaps and bins, being mostly concerned with the aesthetic factors involved. If you live in an area where wildlife is abundant, compost heaps and bins naturally attract a wide variety of scavenging beasts that can quickly become a problem. Our family had a problem with the last two - neighbors and scavenging animals abound in our neighborhood.
After approaching our neighbors and engaging them in a little conversation about what they would or would not find appropriate, our neighbors let us know that an open compost heap would be out of the question. We do live in a higher-end neighborhood, so that was understandable but frustrating...but we kept talking about our options and somehow we all decided that a compost tumbler would be acceptable.
Now, as we found, a compost tumbler addressed those issues. After selecting a compost tumbler that both of us thought would be suitable in price and form, we found out how nice a compost tumbler was when it came to function as well.
A compost tumbler keeps our family's compost out of sight, out of reach of any wandering animals and makes the task of turning the pile easier - even fun. Our kids love going out and spinning the handle, knowing that they're helping out and "making dirt."
A compost tumbler can easily solve the aesthetic problems that composting can cause for your neighbors. They come in all shapes and sizes, and in different colors and styles as well.
Some compost tumbler manufacturers and experienced composters claim that using a compost tumbler can help speed up the process of composting and that you'll have that valuable and useful load of "black gold" faster than you will if you stuck to the older, more traditional methods of composting like bins or piles. Compost tumblers have been shown to produce usable, perfect compost within 14 days, as long as the mixture is kept moist and turned two or three times a day. Compost bins on the other hand, take at least one month to produce the same quality compost and need to be tended to more often - usually with a pitchfork and a shovel. While the mental imagery of standing outside with a pitchfork, tending your compost bin every day might be attractive to some, I prefer the simplicity and convenience of being able to just go outside, turn the compost tumbler crank a few times and go back to whatever else I was doing.
It would seem that using a compost tumbler is the better, cleaner, faster and easier way to compost.
While that may be true, you're still going to want to investigate a bit before deciding on a direction to go - especially when a compost tumbler can set you back a few hundred dollars.
Be sure to consider capacity when selecting your compost tumbler. Capacity needs can vary from composter to composter. Many manufacturers provide their compost tumblers and bins in different sizes. While it may seem obvious that a larger compost tumbler is a better buy, smaller units may be lighter, easier to move from place to place and easier to operate than larger compost tumblers.
For new composters, there another reason to figure out your compost tumbler capacity needs. Because the speed at which your composting material turns into usable compost is based on the time the last item was added, you won't get a full load of compost until you've finished adding organic material. That means you can't continually add material unless you also accept that the "time to completion" is going to be measured from the last time you put in that "extra little bit."
Because of this composting fact, families who are sure they want to start composting may want to have more than one compost tumbler unit. Start by completely filling one with a mixture of brown and green compost material. Examples of "brown" material are fine mood chips, brown weeds, straw, leaves and kitchen scraps; examples of green material are grass clippings, green garden cast-offs and manure.
While that batch "cooks," you can slowly start to fill another unit.
This is the idea behind the Mantis ComposTwin: You can have one bin filled and composting while you are adding fresh ingredients to the second bin.
When using a compost tumbler, remember that the proportion of green material to brown is more crucial in a closed tumbler than in an open pile. If you don't add at least 40 percent browns, you'll end up with a slimy, smelly mess instead of usable compost. If nothing else is available, keep a bag of leaves or a bale of straw handy and use it as necessary to maintain the balance. In most cases where users have reported poor results, it turns out they have been adding only grass clippings and kitchen scraps to the unit.
Most compost tumblers are pest-proof to rodents, dogs and other animals—not to insects. When you open your compost tumbler, be prepared for a cloud of gnats to emerge. The fact is, these same gnats hover over open compost piles, but you are less aware of them because you don't encounter them in mass.
While a compost tumbler will retain moisture better than an open compost pile, you still need to monitor the moisture levels in your tumbler. You probably won't need to add much water - usually, grass clippings alone provide more than enough moisture. Your "cooking" compost should feel about as wet as a damp sponge.
If the compost material in your tumbler is wetter than that, leave the door open awhile so it can dry out a bit. Sometimes you may have to add a small amount of water. If you do, be sure that you add no more than a cup at a time, and tumble the contents after each cup of water.
Because air is crucial to the composting process, check your compost tumbler, every now and then to make sure that the vents haven't been clogged by decaying organic material. If the compost isn't developing as fast as you'd like, be sure to rotate the tumbler more frequently. For most compost tumblers , turning it over five or six times a week should be plenty.
If you and your family is considering investing in a compost tumbler, Compost Tumbler Reviews hope that the information we provide will be useful and that you will give us your impressions and share with us your experiences with this ecology-friendly hobby.