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Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  Triciasgarden on 2/4/2013, 6:21 pm

@bnoles wrote:Here is a link to the one I built early last fall, I spent less than $45 and 2 hours time. It works really well.

Very nice!


Tumbler

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  treefrog62 on 2/6/2013, 12:42 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Nice post, QB!

Treefrog, is there any garden soil around your townhouse where you can dig up a little pot full and throw it into your tumbler?

CC
CC - I have a pile of used potting soil (bought bagged stuff) from my plants of last year. Would that be good to throw some in? I also bought some compost "starter"/activator, I just need to calculate how much to use for my very small "pile", which I haven't done yet. Also just past my back yard, there is a small area of trees/bushes, that separate our neighborhood from the street. I've though about collecting material from that area - definitely leaves, but it is also mixed with a lot of pine needles (which I have read take a long time to degrade). I don't know what kind of soil I could find in that area - whether it would be of good quality. I have also thought about going to our local State Park, and taking a small amount of "soil/degrading forest materials" - like a gallon size baggie worth (maybe I first need to see if that is legal or not affraid ).

So, would the used potting soil be good, or natural soil be better? I had also thought about putting a little of the store bought compost in my composter. Perhaps I should do a little of all these things.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  GWN on 2/6/2013, 1:49 pm

I think that the stuff from the forest would be the best. It would have lots of beneficial microorganisms.
I dig down around trees to find the old rotting branches etc that have whitish grey stuff all over them, that is the stuff that really works.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  SisterCat on 2/15/2013, 6:07 pm

@Lemonie wrote:Didn't we just conclude somewhere recently that urine/liquid nitrogen might work as a great compost starter? blush I'm just sayin'....might be time to get a little up close and personal w/ the pile.
:fall: who?me?

I wanted to thank you for the biggest best belly laugh I've had all week! Those emoticons...

rofl

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  jimmy cee on 2/16/2013, 9:23 pm

Enviro-cycle has a very nice tumbler with slots in the bottom of the barrel.
Barrel is rotated on rollers, spin as often as deemed necessary.
These slots drain into the base which can collect the fluid that flows from tumbler.
The base stores the fluid till it is emptied, compost tea
A ratio of 1 part tea + 10 parts water is used directly in the garden
I picked this up last Oct, A nice Co. to deal with, Excellent customer service.
I'll recommend them highly..
$169.00 last I saw.
Jimmy

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Composting

Post  treefrog62 on 3/2/2013, 12:23 pm

Thanks GWN. I went out into the woods, and dug up some soil, along with leaves and other rotting woods stuff, and added it to my composter. And I've been shredding paper and cardboard, along with continuing to add kitchen scraps to it (even the Valentines day roses). It seems to be coming along nicely, and I am hopeful that it will produce finished compost by the time I need to add a trowel full after harvesting my crops.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/2/2013, 12:35 pm

I was at Costco this week and noticed that they have a large double barrel tumbler composter, but forgot to check the price (it was mounted high in the air so I saw it from a distance and didn't go down that aisle). It was a very nice looking unit and Costco's prices are usually outstanding for things like this. Perhaps they might have the same unit on their website?

I have a race going... we built a double compartment pile compost bin out of left over pallets. It's "Country Chic" style really adds to my garden decor, LOL! I created a full pile and every week I toss it from one side to the other.

Meanwhile I'm about 50% full on the tumbler, hopefully I'll have it ready to go in another couple of weeks. We'll see which gets done faster.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  jimmy cee on 3/2/2013, 3:26 pm

Before you proceed with purchasing a composter..please look at this one
http://envirocycle.com/us/home

I purchased one last fall and want to get another, however that would be overkill
The company that makes this is absolutely great with company service and answering any questions.
$169.00 and I think free shipping also..

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/2/2013, 3:48 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:Before you proceed with purchasing a composter..please look at this one
http://envirocycle.com/us/home

I purchased one last fall and want to get another, however that would be overkill
The company that makes this is absolutely great with company service and answering any questions.
$169.00 and I think free shipping also..
I have two of those. They were given to me by Sarvay, a wildlife rehab place my son worked for. They were too small to deal with all the bedding they had to deal with. When I got them they were about 1/3 full of dirty bedding from a deer recovering from some kind of trauma. Best starter ever! They do OK. Had them a long time before I realized how expensive they are.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  Coelli on 3/2/2013, 6:59 pm

I just purchased this from Amazon and it arrived this week:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0090I5AAI/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img - Good Ideas CW-2X Compost Wizard Dueling Tumbler

Although I am disappointed that I can't get it to duel no matter how much I insult it, so far I like it. I've got one side about halfway full of several pounds of coffee grounds (yay Starbucks!), a TON of kale stems, a couple of other miscellaneous things and now my guinea pig's dirty bedding. Hoping that's not too many greens to browns. I imagine with the bedding I won't need to worry as much about an activator but I just went to a friend's house today and raided her composted horse manure pile. I'll throw some horse poop in there too for good measure. Not sure yet if I'll need to get a male in the house to lend a... hand. Very Happy


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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  yolos on 3/2/2013, 7:56 pm

I really like the looks of that mini envirocycle. Put it outside the kitchen door on the screened porch. Mmmm. Only problem is they are out of stock and don't know if they are manufacturing anymore. I don't like to buy anything that is being discontinued because I worry that there may be something wrong with the manufacture of the product. I would still keep the two large compost bins out by the garden.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  snowboarder on 3/11/2013, 6:59 pm

I have a 3x3x3 plastic bin with a lid i got from Menards for 29 dollars. I also have a suncast tumbler with some of my own modifications to withstand a slightly heavier load. The tumbler works quicker but not by much from the pile. I enjoy taking the fork and turning the pile, sometimes as frequently as once a day. the tumbler gets spinned 5 to 10 times a day. I haven't filled a lawnbag with grass in years. I bag all my grass and it goes into my compost pile or tumbler. I also keeps bags of leaves from the fall around my compost area to add with the grass clippings to ensure a rapid decomposure. The newspaper i read about is an excellent idea as well. I've used aspen shaving from small animal bedding and its worked, a little slower but worked.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/11/2013, 9:05 pm

My tumbler was 3/4 filled a couple of weeks ago, and has broken down to about 1/2. However, I keep putting fresh garbage in it so it will be a while before I'm ready to let it go until completion.

My large pile gets hand turned each week and is heating nicely. I will probably have compost for the summer, but I don't think any time before that. I'll probably have to bring in some more before then.

I found a mushroom farm on my way into town and they sell spent compost for $18 a yard. I'm going to fill our truck bed or borrow a trailer from a friend. How long will compost remain usable when it's finished? Does it have a "shelf life?"

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  Coelli on 3/12/2013, 12:38 am

I just wanted to pipe in again and post a link to the compost thermometer I got:

http://www.amazon.com/Thermor-Bios-Compost-Thermometer-20-3-Inch/dp/B007FARTNO

I stick this in one of the ventilation holes so it's buried in the stuff inside so I know when to turn it. When I was turning it often (at least daily, sometimes more) it seemed to actually get cooler without breaking down as much as I wanted; now I'm going to monitor the temp and only turn it when it starts to cool down. I also got some compost activator ( http://www.amazon.com/Jobes-09926-Organic-Compost-Starter/dp/B002MZ2UOA ) and added it last weekend and it heated right up again from 70 to 115 degrees. Once it starts to cool down again I'll tumble it again and add more activator if necessary. The thermometer has really helped figure out what's going on inside while I get a feel for how the tumbler works.

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composting idea

Post  has55 on 3/12/2013, 1:40 am

this may be helpful idea fr composting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQ8GwkIQFls

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  HillbillyBob on 3/12/2013, 12:35 pm

sorry I didn't have time to read all 3 pages here's a good DIY ideal on compost tumbers
www.wikihow.com/build-a-tumbling-composter

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  jimmy cee on 3/12/2013, 4:20 pm

This tumbler is serving me well
Compost tea flows into lower unit
mix 1 part to 10 parts water for plants


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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  has55 on 3/12/2013, 6:00 pm

where did you purchase it? How long have you had it?

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/12/2013, 7:06 pm

Knowing what I know now, I would go with a horizontal style tumbler like yours is in that picture, rather than the one I have that tumbles long-wise. It's easier to load, unload and to spin. When mine gets full it takes a lot of energy to get it to flip and mix.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  jimmy cee on 3/12/2013, 11:27 pm

Here's the link again
http://envirocycle.com/us/home
I've heard they are out of stock, worth waiting for in my opinion

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  Coelli on 3/13/2013, 12:19 am

Amazon will ship this one free, and so far I am really happy with it (it has two chambers, so I've got one cooking while filling the other). It's $120.



It's the Compost Wizard Dueling Tumbler.

I'm still disappointed it doesn't duel, though.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/13/2013, 9:53 am

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I have successfully composted in the past with the standard pile methods. I lived in an area where I had oak leaves falling every day of the year, so gathering them up wasn't difficult, then I just added kitchen scraps, lawn clippings and anything else that was around. I wasn't growing veggies, just flowers so the compost was quite adequate. ....snip.....I bought a tumbler last summer and no matter what I've done it has not produced any real heat at all. Part of the problem (I think) was I've been adding stuff daily rather than doing a batch.

I read back through a bunch of the older posts and got some answers, but wanted to ask for more information from those who have successfully used a tumbler composter:

1. What % of what ingredients did you use to construct your starter batch?
2. Did you use any additives to get it to heat such as blood meal, manures or?
3. Do you work it in batches or do you add daily? What I'm reading seems to indicate the batch concept.
4. Anything you've learned along the way that can help a newbie?

Thanks in advance for any information you can share!
Audrey
I've just harvested the most beautiful compost from one of my tumblers to refresh one of my boxes for spring greens and for a flower bed. Tumblers are both wonderful and crazy makers. Both of mine came about 1/3 full of bedding from an animal rehab place (deer poo and straw). That first year was awesome BUT I got the tumblers in February and did not start my first box until April, so I had some time.

Tip #1 Think of the tumblers as high-end housing for worms. When I am weeding, if I come across a worm or 10, I toss them into the tumbler. My tumblers are low volume. They get warm but not hot, worms do most of the work. Worms can go from 10 to 200 if the environment is good for them. When they are happy they will do the work that you expect heat to do. Learn what makes your worms happy. Not too wet, never too dry.

Tip #2 Do not turn them too often. There was a time when I turned my tumblers every three days hoping to get compost faster. I added "stuff" from a box to make faster, hotter compost. Faster and hotter do not come from a box or (in the PNW) the effort of (wo)man. I'm sure the stuff in the box was not bad for the worms or plants but compost still takes time. Give the worms a week or three before you shake things up on them.

Tip #3 A shovel full of really good dirt or finished compost from someone else (not a bag) adds to the community. It takes more than worms to make compost. If you know someone who dirt farms, ask if you can have a shovel full of garden soil to add to your tumbler. Piles sit on dirt and microbes have access to your pile from the ground. Compost in a tumbler does not have access to microbes. Lawn clippings help (they are not as sterol as kitchen scraps) but a shovel full of someone else’s active compost or garden soil is like starter to sourdough.

About some of your questions: % is seasonal. When the leaves fall I add leaves. When the grass grows I add grass. All year long I add garden waste and scraps. I keep a tumbler by the chicken house (only 3 hens) and clean the house often so that the poo is not too concentrated for the worms. The other thing needed is time. I have two tumblers and a pile. I do not add anything to finished compost until it gets low enough to start over. You might want to put almost finished compost into a bag or bin to finish so that you can keep adding to the other. All the best to you... you are doing a good thing here.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  jimmy cee on 3/13/2013, 4:20 pm

I've been spinning my tumbler about twice a day for a few weeks.
Last night I inserted a calibrated thermometer.
It's been in the 30s all night and today.
Tumbler's in the shade, I read 65 degrees on the thermometer this afternoon.
I think that's good considering I think it is much to wet inside, I may need to add dry leaves..and shredded newspaper.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/13/2013, 4:41 pm

Jimmy,

I've read that it's a good idea to spin one's tumbler less often, which gives the temperature a chance to build. Once a week should be enough, from what I understand.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  Andrea13 on 3/13/2013, 7:17 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Jimmy,

I've read that it's a good idea to spin one's tumbler less often, which gives the temperature a chance to build. Once a week should be enough, from what I understand.

I've read that also, however if it's too wet my understanding is that you shoud turn it more often to help dry it out a bit. But what do I know, I started my tumbler compost pile last August and it's still not ready....of course I was adding to it almost daily for a few months. I can still see some newspaper pieces and eggshells Sad I guess the clock starts over each time you add to it? I'm hoping things will start to happen when the weather starts warming up!

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