How to Compost in a Tumbler

Composting is an effective way to do something useful with kitchen scraps and yard refuse. It saves valuable landfill space and gives you rich, dark soil for gardens and planting that you don't pay any money for. Composting can even be a fun, family activity! Let's learn how to compost in a compost tumbler.


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    Select a location for your compost tumbler. It should be sunny and provide decent air flow. The aeration of the bacteria in the compost tumbler is what makes it work.
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    Add composting materials. Kitchen scraps and yard waste, like leaves and grass clippings, work well. Avoid meat products as they don't break down as readily and can attract vermin. Choosing the right composting materials will keep this from becoming troublesome.
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    Help the process. After adding the materials to compost, you might consider adding manufactured compost accelerants and other compost accessories to speed the composting time. Introducing fresh soil can usually do this also.
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    Give your compost tumbler a spin. Do this on about a weekly basis, to aid the aerating process. The ease of mixing the compost in a tumbler is the biggest advantage tumblers have over compost bins or piles.
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    Monitor the compost temperature. Between 144 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit is a good temperature to keep the compost healthy. Above 160 degrees is too hot and when the compost temperature drops below 98 degrees, composting tends to slow down or stop.
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    Use it! When the compost takes on a rich, brown color it is ready to use. Use it as potting soil, spread it in the garden or use it for any other application that requires nutrient rich soil.


  • By rolling the compost material around, bacteria and oxygen within the batch is evenly distributed, giving the microbial life opportunity to break down the material.
  • Adding strips of Newspaper is a good way to balance the green-to-brown ratio if the compost gets too soupy (too much greens)
  • Compost Tumblers usually yield quicker results due to their advanced aeration.
  • Tumblers require very little effort and are designed to be easy to rotate.
  • They tend to fit in more aesthetically with most home landscaping than bins or barrels do.
  • However, tumblers can only be so large before special devices are required to aid in tumbling.

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Categories: Environmental Awareness