It is a sad truth at my red dirt plot that there is never enough compost despite the fact that I have two bins, another homemade chicken wire contraption, and five shredded leaf piles. Every year, I must go to Edmond Feed (Farmer’s Grain) and purchase Back to Nature as supplemental compost.
Well, I hope this contraption will eliminate those extra trips. In March, Chris from Organic Compost Tumbler sent me this compost tumbler for review. When the tumbler arrived, it needed assembly which wasn’t super difficult. I did need HH’s assistance, so I would say it is at least a one woman and one man assembly deal. I also needed his help to carry it to the backyard.
I received the 9.5 cubic foot tumbler, which is made entirely of recycled materials. This tumbler sells for $285.95 with free shipping. There is also a 7.3 cubic foot tumbler for $226.79, also with free shipping.
I personally like the larger tumbler because my garden is rather large, and living in a rural area, I have a lot of matter to compost.
I placed the tumbler in a sunny spot and filled it full of leaves, garden refuse, etc. Since it came early in the season, I had more brown items than green, and now several months later, although the matter has reduced by half, I still don’t have finished compost.
Why? After perusing their website’s troubleshooting page, I believe it’s because of a couple of things:
- The compost isn’t staying wet enough. I live in a pretty dry climate, and the weather is hot, hot, hot (which further dries out the matter). The compost area is far away from the garden hose, and the only way to add water is to use a watering can.
- Early in the season, a lack of green matter also reduced the moisture content. So, I’ve started taking water down to the tumbler, and I hope the matter will break down quicker.
- We had a very cool spring, and temperatures have just now risen into the 90s. Higher temperatures mean faster matter breakdown.
Make no mistake, I don’t believe the lack of finished compost is the tumbler’s fault. Operator error is to blame. So, I’ll be posting an update later in the season as to whether the tumbler gave me finished compost and how long it took.
Dee — You have my sympathies. As if keeping your plants watered isn’t hard enough in this miserable $%^&*@# drought and 100+ degrees, you now have to WATER your compost?!! Seesh!
It is impossible to have enough compost. I do not require my compost to be finished when I dig it in in the spring and that does not seem to be a problem.
Our compost bins are stacked cinder blocks and the whole thing is filled to the top right now.
My brother operates a composting facility in Albuquerque. When he visited last year he showed us how to water it to get it to break down.
Think about how much you water your compost and then do it ten times as much while turning it with a pitch fork.
You would think our 45-inches of rain a year would do the trick but it’s not so. More water and more wet grass clippings really help it get steamy.
Good tip about watering it, something I always forget to do. How easy is it to turn? I wish they weren’t so darn expensive. My old wire bins take too long to cook (again, too dry I think).
I always tell myself I’ll start a compost pile going but never do.
I have a composter From Gardeners Supply it doesn’t make speedy compost as fast for me as it promises to under ideal conditions. But it is doing it’s job, I just don’t constantly monitor it like I should. In my case, I should add more water. As veteran gardeners, we know how to make compost. It is one of the many things we do, just not the only
Do you add grass clippings? I added for the first time last week and my compost pile started smoking!
I love the concept and was able to hide mine, but I either hid it too well and did not tumble it enough or I put the wrong stuff in it, because mine has not been working either. I am giving it another shot.
I think that a tumbler may be just what this gardener with a not so strong back needs…gail
.-= Gail´s last blog ..Wild Flower Wednesday ~River Mist-ing River Oats =-.
I think this is an amazing product. When we move up country we are definitely getting one of these tumblers.
Good review. Compost tumbler is a great idea. But mine, from Gardeners Supply does not work at the miracle rate for me that they profess. As veteran gardeners, we know that compost happens naturally. Home gardens are not always in the same controlled and monitored environment.
I found that my piles dry out and quit breaking down too. Now I water the fool out of them. Works much better.
nola at the alamo says
Thanks Dee, You’ve inspired me to begin research. I move slowly, but maybe this time next year I’ll be a composting fool (as opposed to now ~ just a fool).
.-= nola at the alamo´s last blog ..Tag and Random Things =-.
Jenny B says
I just love compost, and don’t think you can ever have too much!
AKA Round Rock Morning Glories
One of these days I’d like to get a compost tumbler. They just aren’t very attractive when you have a small lot and neighbors all around.
.-= Robin´s last blog ..Bees on Echinacea =-.
Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening says
It also helps if you shred all the materials first, which I never have time to do.
.-= Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening´s last blog .. =-.