Composting is something I’ve done since childhood. My dad always kept two or three large bins which he turned and rotated, and even let the chickens scratch through now and then. So, when I wanted to start composting for our urban garden, a three-bin setup was my choice.
The problem, for me, with bins is that I’m not tall enough to turn the piles. The sides of mine are short and I can reach into them with a fork, but I don’t have the arm length and upper body strength to turn the piles, so my husband does it. Sometimes. Our ‘stirring’ and rotation schedule is way off and our composting efforts are pitiful.
The Compost Tumbler Journey
I’ve long wanted to try a compost tumbler because they appear so contained (read tidy and neat) and they seem easy. When Gene from The Rain Barrel Depot (we’ve worked with him before, remember?) asked if I’d like to try one, I said a hearty YES!
So, for the past 2 months, I’ve had this little black plastic composting tumbler in my back yard. Every 2-3 days I dumped kitchen scraps, dead garden plants, and other compostable materials into it. When I pulled up my tomato plants I shoved them all in, and it looked full, so I stopped adding to the barrel. My boys and I have taken turns spinning the barrel a time or two per week and I recently opened it to see how things were progressing.
The barrel looked almost empty!
Wait! How did that happen? It was so full!
Oh yea, those big bulky tomato plants broke down. And that’s good news. That’s the goal!
Right now, everything in the barrel is black and icky looking. There are a few maggots thanks to flies who’ve found their way into the air holes on the ends of the barrel. But, they’ll just aid the natural cycle of things rotting so I won’t complain.
I’ve been impressed that even though things are composting rapidly, there is no stench. Sure, you can smell it if you open the barrel, or take a big whiff while you’re spinning it, but walking past, or standing next to the barrel, you’d never guess there was a mess of rotting vegetation and scraps in that barrel. It is neat, and it is tidy. It’s also easy for me, or my boys, to spin!
Read More: Composting: Myths and Methods
At the time of writing this, we still have a few weeks to go before we can ‘harvest’ the compost for use on the garden. I can hardly wait! I plan to update this post when we have finished compost, so be sure to check back in a few weeks. :)
In the meantime, let’s celebrate the awesomeness that is recycling scraps to build our garden soil, AKA composting!
Enter to Win Your Own Compost Tumbler!
The Rain Barrel Depot has graciously offered a Good Ideas: Compost Wizard Junior compost tumbler for us to giveaway. This means that one of YOU will get to win one of your own and start making black gold real soon!
Use the widget below to enter.
Keep in mind this giveaway is open to continental US residents who are 18 years of age or older. And have fun!