The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Compost tumbler

Compost tumblerSince we were starting entirely from scratch with cold weather nipping at our toes, Mark and I made a few time-saving but money-spending decisions. One was a compost tumbler, currently $83 on Amazon --- a pretty good buy with a few minor downsides.

Downside one is mentioned in the reviews --- the model is a bit tedious and fiddly to put together. I think it might have taken me an hour or two to assemble the tumbler with hand tools back before we had electricity. Of course, that was working entirely on my own, and I'm quite a bit less handy than Mark. Together (with the help of a battery powered driver), we likely could have put it together in thirty minutes flat.

Downside two is the size --- the unit feels smaller than it looks on the internet, and Mark (the main compost dumper) says it can be a bit tricky to fit scraps through the door without spilling any. That said, the interior is bigger than it looks --- I think we spent over a month filling up the first bin despite cold weather slowing decomposition. We're still hard at work filling bin two.

Which brings me to the major advantage of this model --- the tumbler is separated into two chambers. This is a major plus since you can fill one side then let it cook down as you fill the other. I'll keep you posted as our first round of Ohio-grown compost bakes!

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

I will have to look into this one. Our compost bin is a bit cumbersome and hard for me to tumble once it starts filling up but hey it was free so I'm not going to complain too much but an easier one would be nice. Thanks for sharing.


Comment by bleueaugust Sat Nov 25 07:16:49 2017
This year I looked at compost tumblers and decided that the cost was beyond my budget. Instead I found a number of really good instructional videos on YouTube and, picking one as what would meet my needs, I proceeded to acquire two black 55 gallon drums from the local farmers' co-op for $10 each, and, having a bunch of lumber lying around that wasn't doing anything, I proceeded to build a two 55-gallon tumbler side-by-side unit in April or so. Since then I have filled up both tumblers at least five times. My last trip to them was yesterday in which I noticed that the contents have again rotted down to about three-quarters of their original volume. That's TWO 55-gallon drums rotting down to 3/4 of their size. Since it's now late fall and winter approaching the composting will slow down. Nevertheless, I'm astonished at how much refuse I put in there (including fish skins, egg shells, coffee grounds, garden refuse etc.) the bins can hold. Going to be great in the spring when I can spread that on my raised beds.
Comment by Nayan Sat Nov 25 09:07:29 2017
it seems everybody here is doing a much better job with these barrel-type composters than I ever did. Mine would dry out the contents so quickly it was like a barrel full of dry leaves, which of course never composted. I have read that to rot properly, compost needs to be around the moisture content of a wrung-out sponge. I can never keep my compost anywhere near that high of a moisture level, except in winter when the rotting slows to a crawl. What am I doing wrong? I do live in Tennessee which has seen pretty hot summers for quite some time now...
Comment by Roz Sun Nov 26 18:58:35 2017

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.