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Tips for compost tumbler

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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  sanderson on 5/30/2017, 2:28 pm

Another good use. This morning the material was 120*F+ and covered with white fuzzy! I have added more dry leaves and a big bag of Starbucks since first started it on May 24, so I have to count today as only 48 hours old.

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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  jimmy cee on 5/30/2017, 4:40 pm

@SwampTroll wrote:I just realized that a tumbling composter actually has yet another use.

If it's one of the ones on a stand that you can get a wheel barrow under, you can use it to mix your MM.  Dump equal amounts of everything in.  Tumble about and empty into the wheel barrow.  Nice and easy - at least in theory.
 I tried just that and found it to be a pain. In my opinion the best method is the tarp as Mel teaches.
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  trolleydriver on 6/10/2017, 10:35 pm

@sanderson wrote:Another good use.  This morning the material was 120*F+ and covered with white fuzzy!  I have added more dry leaves and a big bag of Starbucks since first started it on May 24, so I have to count today as only 48 hours old.
sanderson, how is the tumbler working for you?  Are you still using it?

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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  SwampTroll on 6/11/2017, 2:32 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:
@SwampTroll wrote:I just realized that a tumbling composter actually has yet another use.

If it's one of the ones on a stand that you can get a wheel barrow under, you can use it to mix your MM.  Dump equal amounts of everything in.  Tumble about and empty into the wheel barrow.  Nice and easy - at least in theory.
 I tried just that and found it to be a pain. In my opinion the best method is the tarp as Mel teaches.
I tried the tarp method the first year that I did SFG and found it impossible.  I found using a wheel barrow to be far more effective and less painful in the long run.
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  sanderson on 6/11/2017, 2:36 pm

TD, Yes I am. I open it every day, tumble it every other day, and check the moisture. Much slower method than the cage. Will post progress when there is some! Razz

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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  trolleydriver on 6/12/2017, 1:05 pm

If all goes to plan I will be bringing this compost tumbler home this evening. Can't wait to see the look on Mrs TD's face. I found it on Kijiji. It was going for $50 but I offered $30 and the owner agreed. I'm hoping when I get there I find it to be in good shape.


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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  SwampTroll on 6/12/2017, 5:38 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:If all goes to plan I will be bringing this compost tumbler home this evening. Can't wait to see the look on Mrs TD's face. I found it on Kijiji. It was going for $50 but I offered $30 and the owner agreed. I'm hoping when I get there I find it to be in good shape.


Lucky!!!  I'm hoping to get a 2nd composter in the near future as well.
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  donnainzone5 on 6/12/2017, 6:11 pm

Envirocycle, right?  It should be a good one.  I'd like to find another.  The newer versions are too expensive.
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  68carguy on 6/12/2017, 8:15 pm


@SwampTroll wrote:I just realized that a tumbling composter actually has yet another use.

If it's one of the ones on a stand that you can get a wheel barrow under, you can use it to mix your MM.  Dump equal amounts of everything in.  Tumble about and empty into the wheel barrow.  Nice and easy - at least in theory.
I used a tumbler to mix my MM, worked like a charm, a lot easier that the tarp method.
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  trolleydriver on 6/12/2017, 8:48 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:Envirocycle, right?  It should be a good one.  I'd like to find another.  The newer versions are too expensive.
Absolutely correct.

I just brought it home. It's missing some of the plugs in the base and I'll have to clean it up a bit.  For $30 Canadian (i.e., $22.50 USD) I figure it's worth a try.  And so it joins may 3x3x3 and my plastic SoilSaver in my stable of compost bins.





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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  donnainzone5 on 6/12/2017, 9:19 pm

I really like how easy these are to turn!  Of course, I had the smaller version....
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  sanderson on 6/13/2017, 2:49 pm

@68carguy wrote:I used a tumbler to mix my MM, worked like a charm, a lot easier that the tarp method.
Isn't that the one that you were afraid would roll down the street with the wind? :-)

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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  68carguy on 6/13/2017, 5:56 pm

@sanderson wrote:
@68carguy wrote:I used a tumbler to mix my MM, worked like a charm, a lot easier that the tarp method.
Isn't that the one that you were afraid would roll down the street with the wind? :-)



Sanderson,
Yes it is, but believe me once it is full of compost or MM there is no danger of that happening. Its is a bit heavy to roll around although it works well and wholes a good amount of volume too. I like it!! Very Happy
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  sanderson on 6/14/2017, 3:51 am

Update on the tumbler.  Lots of mold (or actinomycetes bacteria), cough, cough, but not a lot of visible decomposing.  I'm thinking that I will eventually put the mass in a worn out perforated 33-gallon bin and let nature finish the process.  Fill the tumbler up again, repeat process for a month, and add to holey bin.  The worms will be able to get in through the bottom holes in the holey bin.  There is a door at the bottom to remove the oldest material.

I think the big cage will be my winter compost project.  I can easily make at least two 27 cu. ft. batches in the cold.

My very first attempt at composting. December 12, 2012.  I hadn't even started gardening!!  Very Happy  There is a "screener" that has since been removed.


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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/27/2017, 7:50 am

I've been feeding my new Joraform 270 (70 gallon capacity split between 2-sides) tumbler for about a week. Even though it's not full yet and is a bit too wet (I had to add the stinking, rotting Jerusalem artichokes that were in a cooler in the garage) it hit 143oF this morning! That's WAY faster than I expected. bounce
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  sanderson on 6/27/2017, 11:46 am

That's hot for 35 gallon composter (x2)! Mine is in the shade all day so the only heat is from the microbes. Is yours in the sun at all?

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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/27/2017, 12:33 pm

Not much sun, and not until the afternoon. It was about 55F outside this morning and the sun hadn't yet hit it for the day when I took that 143*F reading. It dropped to 130*F after a small addition of weeds and a tumble, but was back up to 141*F before lunch. The composter has styrofoam (or some similar product) inside, so it doesn't lose much of the heat that the microbes are generating. One of their websites claims that it can get to 75*C (167*F)! (I probably don't want it that high, I'll use some browns to tap the brakes if it hits 160*F.)
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  sanderson on 6/29/2017, 2:34 pm

Mine is only 80*F. Sad It's down to about 1/3 the volume or less.

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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/29/2017, 11:16 pm

Mine is back down to 110-130. The lumps I thought were due to too much moisture were actually Jerusalem artichoke... blobs. So I need to add back some wet/nitrogen. The lettuce remnants, courtesy of ?voles who ate all the leaves off the stems, helped, but I'll be grabbing some weeds and fresh grass trimmings soon.
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  sanderson on 7/7/2017, 11:30 pm

Jimmy Cee is right (as usual).  I filled the 80-gallon tumbler for a second time on July 1, and I filled it all the way to the top.  That's 16 3/4 five-gallon buckets of produce culls, coffee, hay, leaves and horse manure.  I'm turning every other day.  It has been bouncing between 130*F and 150*F.  I think the aerating mixing bar really helps, both with aeration and with thorough mixing.

I added some expired spring lettuce yesterday, otherwise, nothing new.  I figured the lettuce would wilt and disappear quickly.

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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  Mikesgardn on 7/8/2017, 10:11 pm

I also bought a compost tumbler this year, as another one of my experiments.    It is a 50-gallon tumbler, and I filled it with grass clippings and vegetable scraps on April 23, and I also added some Drunken Compost tonic (beer, soda, ammonia).   I turned it a few times a week, and watered it every now and then.  So after 80 days or so, it is not compost yet.   So yeah, Jimmy Cee is right.  These tumblers are a novelty.
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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  sanderson on 7/9/2017, 2:23 am

Mike, I have a concern about the workings of drunken composting. True composting involves the break down of greens and browns through mold and bacterial activity, resulting in the creation of some heat. Using only greens of grass clippings and veggie scraps makes the material low in carbon. Beer, ammonia and soda do not have living organisms. I suggest that you try your tumbler again, only this time fill with five 5-gallon buckets of grass and chopped veggies and five 5-gallon buckets of mowed bedding straw and/or dried leaves. Water well and tumble to mix. If the tumbler has air holes, great. Otherwise, open it daily for fresh oxygen, and tumble every other day. See what it looks like after 2 weeks. It will have shrunk but it should look more like traditional composting material. I don't know how hot a 50 gallon tumbler will get. Maybe 120*F?? That is fine for a small tumbler. My tumbler is on the large size at 80 gallons. It is under shade all day and it has made it to 152*F today, day 8. Just give it another try with a different "recipe." :-)

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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  trolleydriver on 7/9/2017, 7:39 am

I have the Envirocycle 50 gallon tumbler. I turn it every 3 days per the instructions for that tumbler. I use a mixture of browns (leaves, cardboard, etc.) and greens (kitchen scraps, grass clippings, old plants, etc.). I added material over the first couple of weeks to fill it up and have now stopped adding. The tumbler is in a sunny location (we have not had a lot of sunny days). Here is the temperature graph so far. For more see "TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer" thread.


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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  trolleydriver on 7/12/2017, 5:50 pm

It's day 2 since I last turned my Envirocycle tumbler.  The temperature is staying in the 108F area. Today I found the "fungus" shown in the photos growing on top of the composting material. Is this good?




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Re: Tips for compost tumbler

Post  sanderson on 8/4/2017, 9:18 pm

This is day 35 for this batch in the Lifetime tumbler.  It's lumpy and still wet but it's good enough for top dressing under the straw mulch.  I wonder how many 5-gallon buckets are there. I'm guessing between 3-4?? I find the worms make quick work on the top dressing compost, turning it into fines. Tonight is Farmer's Market and hope to score some sun scorched, wilted, flabby produce. You can see how little of the big bin of compost is left. I may mix the new wet stuff in with the older dry stuff, and then do some amending/top dressing.

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