If you plan to have a garden rich with vegetables, flowers and fruits, you'll need to nourish the plants and the soil. In addition to applying fertilizer, you must replenish depleted soil with decomposed and recycled organic material called compost. And one of the best way to produce compost is by using a compost tumbler.
A compost tumbler is a sealed, cylinder barrel that rotates or turns. Organic yard and kitchen waste are dumped into the tumbler where the materials are broken down by insects, fungi, worms, snails, and microbes that decompose organic material through oxygen.
Tumblers come in a variety of sizes, designs, and uses. They can be used inside your home or outdoors. Horizontal and vertical tumblers come with turning cranks. Spherical tumblers usually roll along the ground but may also be placed on stands.
Tumblers are a great advantage if you have a large yard with tree leaves constantly falling. Yard trimmings and other shrubs and organic waste make it easier for you to make compost to refurbish your garden or yard.
How Does a Compost Tumbler Work?
Organic material is divided into browns and greens.
Brown Waste – Brown organic biodegradable waste is mostly carbon filled matter. Brown waste includes but is not limited to dry leaves, twigs, cardboard, pine needles, straw and wood chips.
Green Waste – Green organic biodegradable waste is nitrogen based and is most commonly referred to as agricultural waste because it includes but is not limited to grass, flower, hedge trimmings, food waste.
For a tumbler to work, you must fill the container with both green and brown waste, rotate the barrel and then leave it for a couple of weeks to decompose from the oxygen produced by the heat.
When the organic elements inside the tumbler are mixed and cooked with fresh oxygen, you’ll be notified through a system check that the compost is ready. However, some tumblers require commercial starters, manure or garden soil to activate the process faster.
The tumbler keeps the materials contained, as well as the heat it produces. Therefore, it’s important to turn the tumbler on twice or three times a week so the circulated microbes and organic material introduce oxygen for quicker decomposition.
Most importantly, for a compost tumbler to work fast and efficiently without leaving a repugnant odor, it must be exposed to air. The more air your tumbler takes in, the higher the heat. It is recommended that the tumbler be able to heat up to at least 130 degrees.
The Different Types of Compost Tumblers
Crank Operated Drums
Horizontal compost drums are mounted on an elevated structure and come with a crank that allows you to turn the drum. A door opens on the bottom so you may place a wheelbarrow or a carrying container below.
All central-axle drums are designed to be raised from the ground and rest on an attached structure built into the unit. A wooden, metal or PVC frame support the central axle which makes it easy to operate. The latch is located at the bottom of the drum so that when the compost is ready, all you have to do is open the latch and let the compost fall onto a container.
Base Rolling Drums
These horizontal drums are mounted on a low base leveled with the ground and are a bit inconvenient because the vicinity from the drum to the ground forces you to shovel the compost out of the bins. Depending on the depth of the opening, you may have a hard time getting everything out.
Drums that are aerated are designed with a ventilation slot that allows air to enter the receptacle and come in direct contact with the decomposing organic materials. The advantage of this tumbler is that the aeration process speeds up decomposition thus enabling you to recycle more biodegradable waste.
The most efficient tumblers are those with dual-bins that are thickly insulated. Two bins are adjacent to each other and rotate in unison as one unit. Each chamber has a vent that enables for aeration to occur doubling the composting of materials. And, while one bin is processing, the other bin can be utilized to store new waste.
Sealed Drum Tumblers
The sealed insulated drum has a built in mechanism that flips the decomposing organic matter while the drum rotates. You don’t have to worry about turning it.
Our Compost Tumbler Reviews
This compost tumbler has two compartments that hold up to 70 gallons of compost. So while you are waiting for one of the compartments to decompose all the way, you can get ahead of the game by starting to fill the other compartment. This way you will have an unlimited amount of fresh and nutrient rich soil for your garden.
This compost tumbler is also made from galvanized steel so it is rust proof. It means you’ll be able to get years of use out of it without having to worry about it falling apart from sitting in the outdoor weather.
It is also insulated to keep just the right amount of heat inside to help your compost decompose at a regular rate no matter what time of year it is.
This composter is a recycled plastic bin so if you’re environmentally conscious, this is an excellent bin for you. It has a sturdy steel frame so you won’t have to worry about it collapsing with the weight you add to it.
This tumbler also has two compartments which make sure that you have an ample supply of good compost. The combined capacity between the two compartments allows it to hold 37 gallons of scraps, which is a very good amount of new nutrient rich compost.
This composter also has adjustable air vents, which is a good feature because it allow you to choose how fast you want to decompose your scraps by changing how much oxygen it adds to the mixture.
This tumbler holds up to five gallons of compost tea, which is collected in the base when it rains and that water seeps through your compost. It’s an excellent feature to have if you’re gardening for fruits and vegetables, since compost tea is the best organic fertilizer there is.
The tumbler is also BPA free as well as being 100% recycled plastic. It holds up to eleven cubic feet of compost between both of the compartments. This equals out to 5.5 cubic feet per compartment. This compost tumbler is a great choice if you’re aiming for the all-natural lifestyle.
This compost tumbler is a sturdy and affordable option, whether you’re looking for a new tumbler because you’re just starting to compost or you need a replacement. It has a capacity of 80 gallons, so you won’t run out of room to put your yard trimmings or food scraps from the kitchen.
It is made from high density polyethylene and also has a powder coated steel. It’s also double paneled so there will be an adequate amount of heat inside to help your scraps break down at an even pace.
There is an inner bar to help you mix your compost evenly, so you can make sure all of your compost is finished at the same time and you can start using it sooner.