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Gardening - Compost Tumblers?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Sandor, Feb 9, 2006.

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  1. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I'm going to ramp up the gardening operation this year.

    I have been composting egg shells, potato peels, etc out by the garden. Its starting to look kinda sloppy and the Racoons are really coming around.

    So, does anyone use one of those compost tumblers like this one, and does it work as advertised?

    https://www.compostumbler.com/StoreFront/IAFDispatcher

    P.S. I guess gardening subjects can be posted here.... kinda like Plow & Hearth!

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I got an error on the link, Sandor, but yes, compost tumblers do work.

    I have 3 wooden compost bins. If you want to expedite the process, you need to introduce oxygen to the stuff you're trying to break down. You can do that with a tumbler or with a pitch fork. If the pile is getting sufficient oxygen, it becomes aerobic and won't smell at all. If it gets too wet or not enough O2, then the pile can go anaerobic and will stink to high heaven.

    One way around the smell is to put aerobic compost tea on the pile before you turn it. The aerobic bacteria will eat up all the anaerobic bugs and the pile won't be quite so fragrant when you turn it. How do you make aerobic compost tea? Get a five-gallon bucket, a cheap aquarium bubbler, a handfull of compost or soil and a couple table spoons of molassas. Fill the bucket with water, mix in the ingredients, bubble for 24 to 48 hours and you've got your tea. Works great as an organic fertilizer, too.
  3. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    I have composted the last few years using a large plastic trashcan, the kind you see on curbsides. I drilled many 1" holes all over it and turn the marerial over with a shovel whenever I add more material, once or twice a week. It works well too, but the labor of turning the material can get tiresome. I'm thinking this summer I am going to switch to the 3 composte bins mentioned by Eric.

    good luck
  4. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    ChrisN - wish i could see a better shot of that house in your avatar. Looks sweet.

    I've kept a compost pile for several years. I've probably reduce a pile of clippings/leaves/yard waste the size of my house. I've never bneen able to maintain an active 'cooking' pile and just sort of gave up. i still throw my yard waste on it, still try to balance the green (live) stuff with the brown (dead) stuff but it just doesn't start cooking on it's own. it did for awhile - you'd see and feel the heat coming off - I think that was back when I had this old bag of fertilizer I was occasionally throwing in it. This fed the system and kept it cooking. i don't get much of anything out of it as far as compost. I turn it with a pitchfork, but less and less. Now I just dump on it and the pile always seems to stay the same size!
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Dump 5 gallons of aerobic compost tea on there and it'll start to cook, wahoowad. Kitchen scraps are also good for juicing up the pile, as are grass clippings if you mix them up good with some dried leaves. You gotta keep it moist but not wet, too.

    I've found that if you just leave it long enough, anything organic sitting in a big enough pile will eventually compost. If you get far enough ahead, then you don't have to worry about turning it.
  6. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    One thing I found about the compost containers is they are a bit small (n my case, anyways) if you compost most of your leaves and brush after fall and spring cleanup. I had one myself in my previous house, but didn't move it me when I moved. It did make good compost, and with the regular turning it was a lot quicker then waiting for a whole pile.

    This year I am trying something different - I layered all of the leaves and yard waste on the garden and am letting it compost. Come planting time I will just turn the soil and plant. Don't know if or how it will work, but I'll know soon.
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That will work just fine, HotFlame. I try to do that to my garden every year, too. Turn it this year and the plants' roots will have all that compost to draw from. Do the same thing again next year, and you're turning up nice organic soil and putting it on top of good compost. Before you know it, you've got some really good dirt for your plants.
  8. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I grew up with the compost bins when I was a kid. Sounds like the spinable tubs work, according to "da Flame".

    And Eric, I remember making the tea with my father, when I was a kid. We had 3-4 lb Beefsteak tomatoes, watered with the tea, so I guess it works!

    Onward!
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Yeah, you want to be careful with that stuff around tomatos. Don't even think about putting it anywhere near zucchini. They grow so big you can cut them up with a chainsaw, dry them out and burn them in the stove. It's called "zucular energy."
  10. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    ROTFLMAO!
  11. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    Eric, You solved a gardening question for me. I used my compost on my garden last season and my zuchinis almost took over the garden. I felt like Jack with his Beanstalk!!! every day my wife and I would go to the garden and we had zuchinis comming out our ying-yang. I definitely be more judiscious in my compost distribtion next season. A little off topic, but does anyone have a guess as to why one row of beans I planted didn't produce a single bean? lots of flowers but they never developed into beans. I had a second row next to that that produced normally. I was, and still am stumped as to why.
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I didn't have much luck with beans last summer, either. Mostly that was due to the deer and neglect on my part, but some years are better for some things than others, and beans were not the fortunate ones last summer. Tomatos, indeed. My guess is that in a good bean year, your second row would have produced fruit. Also, could be something in the soil. Maybe the ph is off or something.
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