Hello fellow gardening enthusiasts! Let’s talk about composting. Now, I can almost hear some of you saying, “Composting, really?” Trust me, I used to be in that camp too. But over the years, I’ve come to realize just how magical composting truly is. It’s a natural process that turns our everyday kitchen scraps and garden waste into nutrient-rich food for our plants, improving soil health and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Not only does composting help our gardens, it helps our planet by reducing waste that would otherwise end up in landfills. Pretty cool, right?
Now, let’s talk about compost tumblers. When I first started composting, I used a simple compost heap in my backyard. It did the job, but it took a long time and was pretty hard work. Enter the compost tumbler. These nifty devices speed up the composting process, are easy to use, and help keep pests out. Plus, they’re neater and more compact, making them perfect for smaller spaces. Let me tell you, once you switch to a compost tumbler, you’ll never look back.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Compost Tumbler
When you’re on the hunt for the perfect compost tumbler, there are a few key factors you should consider.
Size and Capacity: Think about the amount of kitchen and garden waste you generate each week. Also consider your gardening needs. Are you supplying a few potted plants, a small backyard garden, or a large vegetable plot? Choose a size and capacity that suits your needs.
Material & Construction Quality: The material of your tumbler matters. It needs to be sturdy and able to withstand the elements. Look for composters made from high-quality, UV-resistant plastics or coated metal to prevent rusting. The design should also allow for easy turning and stability.
Aeration and Drainage Features: Aeration is crucial for composting. The composting microbes need oxygen to do their job. Look for a tumbler with a good aeration system like built-in vents or aeration holes. Drainage is equally important. Composting materials can produce a lot of liquid, and you don’t want your compost becoming a soggy mess!
Price Range: Compost tumblers come in a range of prices. More expensive doesn’t always mean better, so shop around. Consider what features are most important to you and find a tumbler that offers those within your budget.
User Reviews and Reputation: Lastly, do your homework. Read up on user reviews, ask friends or local gardening clubs for recommendations. Choose a product from a reputable brand with good customer service.
Review of the 7 Best Compost Tumblers
Now, let’s dive into my top picks for compost tumblers. Remember, the “best” composter is the one that best fits your specific needs and circumstances, so consider the features of each one carefully.
Not only does this composter have a name that catches your eye, but it also lives up to it. This compact, barrel-style tumbler is a looker, but don’t let that fool you. It’s not all about aesthetics. With a capacity of 35 gallons, it can handle a good amount of waste.
This tumbler is made of food-safe, BPA and rust-free materials, ensuring that your compost stays clean and safe for your plants. One feature that sets it apart is its ability to produce both solid and liquid compost. The base of the compost tumbler gathers a substance known as compost tea. This liquid, rich in nutrients, can be repurposed as a potent fertilizer.
The main downside is its price, being one of the more expensive options. But if you can swing it, it’s a great choice that offers a good balance between capacity and aesthetics.
When it comes to capacity, the Lifetime 60058 Compost Tumbler stands tall. With an 80-gallon capacity, this composter can handle larger amounts of waste. It features a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) construction and is UV-protected to prevent degradation, ensuring its longevity.
One feature that I appreciate is its balanced, lightweight design that makes rotation easy. On the downside, some users have noted that assembly can be a bit challenging.
For those of you who have a lot of waste to compost and don’t want to wait between batches, the FCMP Outdoor IM4000 could be a great fit. It offers dual chambers for continuous composting and a large total capacity.
It’s easy to turn and aerates efficiently, speeding up the composting process. However, some users have mentioned that the sliding door can be a bit fiddly to handle.
With this tumbler, you get two bins for sequential composting. It boasts a sturdy, weather-resistant construction and ventilation holes for aeration.
The dual compartments allow you to start a new batch while the first one is still composting. However, it might be a bit heavy to turn when fully loaded.
Yimby’s Tumbler Composter is a budget-friendly, two-chambered design built with recycled, UV inhibited, BPA free polypropylene. Its excellent aeration system with adjustable air vents makes composting efficient.
However, it does have a smaller capacity compared to some of the other models, which might not be suitable for those with larger gardens.
MaxWorks 80699 is an affordable option with a 42-gallon capacity. It features a sturdy steel frame and air holes for proper composting. The barrel is easy to rotate and mix compost materials.
On the downside, the assembly can be somewhat challenging, and the instructions could be clearer.
Lastly, we have the SQUEEZE master Large Compost Tumbler Bin. With its dual-compartment design, strong and durable construction, and large capacity, it’s a top contender for serious composters.
It can handle significant waste, making it suitable for larger households or those with sizable gardens. However, its larger size means it does take up a bit more space, so you’ll want to make sure you have a good spot for it.
Let’s pause for a bit and take a step back to review all seven compost tumblers we’ve examined so far. I believe a comparison table could serve as a handy tool to aid you in making the best decision that suits your specific needs.
Envirocycle The Most Beautiful Composter in The World
- Key Features: Sleek design, safe for food materials, produces both solid and liquid compost.
- Capacity: Medium
- Pros: Eye-catching design, dual compost production, free of BPA and rust.
- Cons: Could be slightly over the budget for some.
Lifetime 60058 Compost Tumbler
- Key Features: Constructed with High-density polyethylene, UV-protected.
- Capacity: Large
- Pros: Long-lasting, UV protection to prevent degradation, lightweight design for easy turning.
- Cons: Assembling the unit could be a tad bit complicated.
FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter
- Key Features: Features two chambers, promotes efficient aeration.
- Capacity: Large
- Pros: Continuous composting possible, easy to spin.
- Cons: The sliding door may pose a slight challenge.
Gardener’s Supply Company Dual-Batch Compost Tumbler
- Key Features: Features two bins, built with weather-resistant materials, includes ventilation holes.
- Capacity: Medium to Large
- Pros: Supports sequential composting, solid and sturdy build.
- Cons: It’s priced slightly higher compared to others.
Yimby Tumbler Composter
- Key Features: Two-chambered design, made with recycled materials, includes adjustable air vents.
- Capacity: Medium
- Pros: Eco-friendly, excellent aeration, more affordable.
- Cons: Plastic construction may not be as long-lasting as metal ones.
MaxWorks 80699 Garden Compost Bin Tumbler
- Key Features: Features a sturdy steel frame, has air holes for composting, easy to spin.
- Capacity: Medium
- Pros: Robust construction, efficient aeration.
- Cons: Its capacity might be a bit smaller compared to other models.
SQUEEZE master Large Compost Tumbler Bin
- Key Features: Dual-compartment design, robust construction.
- Capacity: Large
- Pros: Can handle a substantial amount of waste, efficient composting.
- Cons: The assembly instructions could be clearer.
Tips for Using Compost Tumblers
As someone who’s been deep in the composting game for quite some time, I’d love to share some top tips and nuggets of wisdom I’ve gathered along the way. Trust me, these tips will take your composting game to the next level!
Ensuring Proper Moisture Balance: One of the keys to successful composting is maintaining the right level of moisture. Imagine the texture of a wrung-out sponge – that’s what you’re aiming for with your compost mix. Too dry, and the decomposition process will slow down; too wet, and you risk creating an anaerobic environment that smells foul and doesn’t compost effectively. Use your tumbler’s drainage system to control excess moisture and don’t be afraid to add some dry browns or a splash of water to reach that sweet spot!
What to Add (Greens vs. Browns): Greens and browns – they’re not just colors, they’re the backbone of your compost! Greens are your nitrogen-rich materials like vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. Browns are carbon-rich materials such as dry leaves, straw, or shredded newspaper. Aim for a balance between the two; I usually go for a 50/50 mix. Too much of one can throw off your compost’s balance and slow down the composting process.
Importance of Regular Turning and Checking: Turning your compost is like stirring a pot of soup. It keeps things evenly heated and well mixed, helping the decomposition process along. With a compost tumbler, this task is a breeze – just give it a few spins every few days, and you’re golden. Regular checks are also crucial. They let you catch any issues early – like an imbalance in your green-to-brown ratio or moisture levels – before they become a big problem.
Tips to Speed Up the Composting Process
Want compost quick? Here’s a little piece of advice for you: the quicker the decomposition process, the more finely you should chop your materials. So, break, chop, or shred your compost materials into smaller pieces to speed things up. Another tip: more variety in your compost mix can lead to a richer, more nutritious compost.
What is the Best Size Compost Tumbler?
The best size for your compost tumbler depends on your needs. Are you composting for a small balcony garden, a medium-sized backyard, or a large vegetable plot? For most home gardeners, I’d say a tumbler with a capacity of 60-80 gallons works well. It’s big enough to produce a good amount of compost but not so huge that it becomes difficult to turn.
What is the Best Mix for Compost Tumblers?
Aim for a 50/50 mix of greens and browns. This provides a balanced diet for your compost microbes and maintains a good carbon to nitrogen ratio. Remember, variety is also crucial – try to include as many different types of greens and browns as you can for a rich, nutritious compost.
What Not to Put in a Compost Tumbler
Not everything belongs in your compost tumbler! Avoid adding dairy products, meat, or oily foods as they can attract pests and cause foul odors. Diseased plant material and weeds with seeds are also a no-no as they can spread disease and weeds when you use your compost. Always be aware of what you’re adding to your tumbler and when in doubt, leave it out!
To wrap up, composting with a tumbler is an effective and convenient way to manage organic waste and create nutrient-rich compost for your garden. However, as we’ve discussed, it’s not as simple as tossing scraps in and waiting for nature to do its thing. There are techniques to master and mistakes to avoid. Let me answer a few common queries that might help you make the most out of your composting journey.
Firstly, “How often should I turn my compost tumbler?” This depends on the type and quantity of material you have inside, but as a general rule of thumb, aim to turn your compost tumbler every 2-3 days. Regular turning ensures all parts of the compost pile get equal access to air, which is vital for the decomposition process.
Next up, “What should I avoid putting in my tumbler?” There are several items you should avoid composting, even if they’re technically organic. These include dairy products, meats, and oily foods, which can create unpleasant odors and attract pests. Also, diseased plant materials and weed seeds should be avoided, as the temperatures in home compost systems might not be high enough to kill these.
Lastly, “How long does it take to get finished compost?” This varies greatly based on factors like the material composition, moisture level, air supply, and temperature, but in general, it takes about 2-3 months to get finished compost in a tumbler, provided it’s well-managed.
In conclusion, composting is a commitment to reducing waste and contributing to a healthier, greener planet. With the variety of compost tumblers available in the market, I’m confident you can find one that fits your needs and budget. Remember, every little bit helps, so let’s start composting and return the favor to Mother Earth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
It’s quite common to have questions when starting with compost tumblers. After all, making the most out of your tumbler isn’t just about tossing waste in and forgetting about it! Let’s tackle some of the most common queries that I often hear:
1. How often should I turn my compost tumbler?
- The frequency at which you should turn your compost tumbler depends on various factors, such as the type of waste you’re composting and the climate in your area. However, a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least once a week. If you live in a warmer climate or are composting more ‘green’ materials (like fruit and vegetable scraps), you might want to turn it every 2-3 days. Turning helps aerate the compost, speeding up the decomposition process and preventing foul odors.
2. What should I avoid putting in my tumbler?
- While compost tumblers are versatile and can handle a wide range of organic waste, there are certain things you should avoid putting in your tumbler. These include dairy products, meat or fish scraps, and pet wastes, as these can attract pests and create foul odors. Also, try to avoid diseased plant materials and weeds with seeds, as they might survive the composting process and could cause problems in your garden.
3. How long does it take to get finished compost?
- The duration needed to yield ready-to-use compost hinges on various factors, including the composition of your composting materials, the dimensions of your compost heap, and the ambient temperature. However, with a tumbler, you can generally expect to have finished compost in 2-3 months. Remember, turning your tumbler regularly and maintaining the right balance of green and brown materials can speed up this process.