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Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  donnainzone5 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:28 pm

From what I understand, and I'm a relative newbie to composting, it's best to completely fill a compost tumbler, then not add to it.

I do see your point, however, about turning it more frequently to rid it of excess moisture.
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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  camprn on Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:30 pm

If it's too wet, it's not against the rules to toss in more dry stuff.

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  Andrea13 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:00 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:From what I understand, and I'm a relative newbie to composting, it's best to completely fill a compost tumbler, then not add to it.

I only wish I had enough "stuff" all at once to fill it. How do people get so much all at once, on a small scale? And what do they do with all the little scraps while the first batch is cooking?

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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  H_TX_2 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:01 pm

Andrea13 wrote:
donnainzone10 wrote:From what I understand, and I'm a relative newbie to composting, it's best to completely fill a compost tumbler, then not add to it.

I only wish I had enough "stuff" all at once to fill it. How do people get so much all at once, on a small scale? And what do they do with all the little scraps while the first batch is cooking?


You might be able to contact your nearest grocery store to get any produce they are getting rid of. Neighbors will have just as much kitchen scraps as you so you can easily double, quadruple or more the amount you are currently getting. Starbucks gives away their used coffee grounds for free. Contact local 4-H and find out if you can get some manure from one of their members.

Once you get the first batch started then you have time to build a new pile or bin and fill it while the first is cooking.
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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  H_TX_2 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:07 pm

I used my lunch break to go to my gardening store today. I asked the soil guy where the blood meal was (camprn has recommended this numerous times) and then asked him what he recommended to get a compost bin started. He said he would recommend blood meal.
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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  Thomas on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:42 pm

I recently bought a compost tumbler. I half filled it with material from my compost pile (leaves, grass clippings, vegetable scraps), plus added a good amount of horse manure. Contrary to the promotional material, this thing is a bear to rotate. It is pretty heavy, but the bigger problem is that the material inside is off-balance, when you go to turn it. Would it be better to fill it completely for turning purposes (heavier, but should be better balanced)? Also, does it do its composting thing better when full rather than half full? Also is the manure enough to fire it up, or should blood meal or something similar be added?
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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  offtheporch on Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:22 pm

Thomas wrote:I recently bought a compost tumbler. Also, does it do its composting thing better when full rather than half full? Also is the manure enough to fire it up, or should blood meal or something similar be added?

I think having it full will make it easier to turn, I know I've had to deal with that too when it wasn't full enough. I think the horse manure will be enough but you might want to add a little compost that you've made.

My problem last year, was the compost turned out with a lot of balls of dirt, a little bigger than golf balls. I don't know what I did wrong.
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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:34 pm

Andrea13 wrote:
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!
You can also leave the lid open for a day or two to evaporate the excess moisture if needed. You might end up with some flies but it should work pretty well depending on how humid your area is.
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Re: Hints for Successful Tumbler Composting?

Post  jimmy cee on Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:42 am

Purchased an Enviro-Cycle tumbler last Oct. this tumbler comes with a reservoir to store compost tea under neath.
I started with a 1/2 shovel of garden soil, 1/2 shovel mushroom manure.
I added so much material to this tumbler, I can't believe how it has reduced itself.
Freezing during the winter months is supposedly good for breaking down material, freeze and thaw cycle helps a lot.

I tumble at least every other day, added shredded cardboard , (my paper shredder works great if I cut in narrower strips), added shredded newspaper, as I said I can't believe how much this material has reduced.
2 weeks ago I placed a thermometer into the center, air temps were low 30s, reading from the center of the tumbler was 65 deg F.
I used no compost starter, just garden soil along with some mushroom manure in the beginning.
Back in early winter I tossed in some nitrogen pellets...(mistake) a strong ammonia odor existed for about a month, finally died down and now I have a sweet pleasant odor, almost like a fresh spring rain.
Last week I drained 1-1/2 gal of compost tea from the base. It looks like motor oil drained from an auto..this must be reduced 10/1 for use in a garden..
All in all I am very pleased with this tumbler, learning how to use it will be an ongoing project...

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