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Tumbler...Oct start

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Tumbler...Oct start

Post  jimmy cee on 5/20/2013, 10:39 pm

I have this tumbler since last Oct.
Been adding all winter.
No problems yet, however it isnt finishing ..
I stopped adding items over a month ago, it just sits, makes bugs, and smells nice..yes no bad odor at all.
I can pick up a clump, it stays together with no moisture being squeezed out.
But I am certain there is enough moisture in the chamber.
It looks dry, it isnt
Lots of small gnats, air slots arent clogged., neither are the drain slots on the bottom
Everything imaginable has been added, from the kitchen , yard last falls leaves, and lots of green stuff.
During this past winter there have been times when the interior was much warmer than outside, never more than luke warm.
I'm considering moving this to my live compost pile in the back that's doing nicely..
And starting over.....your thoughts please..




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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  boffer on 5/20/2013, 10:54 pm

I'm sure that others will have suggestions as to how to get things re-started.

But I'm in the same boat. I've done all my composting in piles, and I get great compost. Last winter I built a tumbler just to see what the tumbler process was like, and how it differed from piles. It started off good, then petered out. I tried several different high nitrogen catalysts with little improvement. Now that the weather has warmed up some, it's starting to slowly break down some more. There's lots of worms in it, so if nothing else, they'll finish the composting, eventually.

Bottom line: I'll continue to do my composting in piles, and use the tumbler to make my MM; it mixes MM ingredients nicely!


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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  bnoles on 5/21/2013, 6:36 am

I agree with boffer. I did not get the results I was hoping for with my homemade tumbler and have gone back to composting on the ground. I think it may have something to do with the compost being in touch with the earth for the exchange of microbs or something. I added everything I could to try to speed that tumbler along to no avail.

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/21/2013, 7:24 am

+Another I tried a tumbler for a bit as well, but never got very good results either. I also do most all my compost in piles right on the ground Very Happy
Last year, my sister in law gave me an Earth Machine that she never used. It just sat in her backyard for years. I do use it, and have had great results with it.
http://www.earthmachine.com/index_r.html

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  llama momma on 5/21/2013, 7:52 am

Anyone like to share how they got their successful compost tumbler to work? My 5 pallet heaps are on the ground.

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  Lemonie on 5/21/2013, 11:41 am

Glad this was posted! I was thinking most of my slow composting was due to neglect on my part (which is true), but maybe there is more of a benefit to a traditional pile versus tumbler? We've had a lot more break down from adding "homemade liquid nitrogen" Embarassed and believe I wasn't turning it enough. I might just cut the bottom off of the homemade tumbler and stick it in a corner of the yard and see if it does better there. At least it will pull in more worms to help it along when it's not too hot.

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  boffer on 5/21/2013, 12:06 pm

@Lemonie wrote:I might just cut the bottom off of the homemade tumbler and stick it in a corner of the yard and see if it does better there.
If you do that, and it doesn't work, then you'll have a potato barrel to try! Wink

I tried adding alfalfa. I've ended up with what looks like a barrel full of poop balls. (I've been reading too much plantoid! Rolling Eyes )

But the joke might be on me. I added alfalfa pellets. Was it supposed to be alfalfa meal?

All the compost material has attached itself to the pellets, and the tumbling rounds off the clumps into balls. When I squeeze one I can tell that the pellet is intact, but it does crumble between my fingers.

Stupid tumbler! Razz

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  southern gardener on 5/21/2013, 12:27 pm

Could it possibly be there's just not enough "mass" to compost properly? My pile doesn't seem to really get "cooking" until it's pretty good sized. thinking thinking

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  boffer on 5/21/2013, 12:39 pm

@southern gardener wrote:Could it possibly be there's just not enough "mass" to compost properly? My pile doesn't seem to really get "cooking" until it's pretty good sized. thinking thinking

I've wondered about that myself. Many recommend that a good compost pile size on the ground should be at least 3x3x3 which is 27 cubic feet.

My 55 gallon barrel, if stuffed completely full, would be about 7 cubic feet. I didn't want to overfill it, so maybe it started out with 5-6 cubic feet.

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/21/2013, 1:40 pm

I've used Alfalfa pellets. Even the really large ones, like biscuits, with success. For my piles that is. Not the barrel.

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  Goosegirl on 5/21/2013, 9:29 pm

I have had only limited success with my barrel as well, but I didn't really get started with it until later in the season than I had hoped. I have some alfalfa to put in and some more kitchen scraps to hopefully give it a jumpstart. I will give it a good try this year, but I am also going to be trying the 18-day Berkeley Method starting this weekend.

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

Post  jimmy cee on 5/23/2013, 11:08 pm

I received an email today from the company that made my tumbler.
one of the reasons I purchased it...excellent service
They suggested I remove contents to my main pile, because of the many bugs inside it has to much moisture.
Also, they recommend not to add any type of manure, apparently doesn't get hot enough to kill the bad stuff.
Here's the note they sent me, it may help you also. remember this is for a tumbler

Dear James,

I would like to thank you for contacting us directly with your inquiry.
I have a few tips that I would like to give you based on your description.

Usually gnats or flies signifies that the compost is too wet. Our recommended ratio of green material to brown material is 50:50. The compost should end up being as moist as a wrung-out dish rag or sponge. I would add a layer of brown materials such as cardboard or newspaper to minimize the gnats. Make sure that any material you are adding is cut up into 1" pieces since this will facilitate the process.

I would also make sure to rotate the composter every time you add new material. We also recommend rotating it at least 3-4 times a week to speed up the compost process.

I think the best way to proceed is to transfer what's in your Envirocycle Composter into your compost pile. The reason for this is that we do not recommend inserting any kind of manure into our composters due to parasites or pathogens that it may carry. For your new batch, I would recommend continuing what you are doing, but to not add horse manure into the composter. If there are bugs in your compost, I would make sure to add more dry materials (such as sawdust or cut up cardboard) to balance the ratio of brown material to greens. Also, do not forget to rotate your composter at least 3-4 times a week since this will speed up the compost process.

I hope that this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions. It will be my pleasure to assist you!


Envirocycle is one fine company in my opinion..

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Re: Tumbler...Oct start

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