compost tumbler tips

13 Useful Compost Tumbler Tips to Help You Be Successful

A compost tumbler is a great way to turn your unwanted organic material into nutrient-rich soil in just a few weeks. But, like any other gardening tool, learning how to use a compost tumbler takes some know-how and preparation in order to get the best result possible.

With these 13 tips for using a compost tumbler, you’ll be able to maximize the benefits of this useful piece of machinery!

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WHY YOU SHOULD USE A COMPOST TUMBLER

There are lots of benefits to using a compost tumbler:

  • You don’t have to touch the compost pile
  • It turns very easily with the handle (vs. the backbreaking work of turning a huge pile manually with a shovel)
  • It’s easy to avoid maggots, rats, and other pests getting into your compost tumbler because it’s sealed with a lid.
  • It’s easy to move around to the perfect spot based on your needs.

Ready for the compost tumbler tips? Here we go.

TIP #1: FIND THE BEST LOCATION FOR YOUR COMPOST TUMBLER

The best location for your compost tumbler is one that gets enough sunlight and good airflow.

But more importantly, you’ll want to put it in a location that’s easy for you to access. You aren’t going to want to trudge out to some remote location on your property at 11PM on a cold winter night, which will make it less likely that you’ll follow through with composting.

Compost tumblers are fantastic because they contain the mess and the smell, so there should be no issue with placing it near your back door. So start with a location that’s convenient to you, then move it if necessary if you encounter problems.

TIP #2: BE PATIENT FOR YOUR WASTE TO TURN INTO COMPOST

The time it takes to compost in a tumbler varies depending on the climate, the type of material you’re composting, and how often you turn the tumbler. In general, though, it will take around two to four weeks for your compost to be ready.

The amount of time that it takes can vary considerably depending on weather, climate, and other factors. However, the average time frame is around two to four weeks.

If you want to speed up the process in your compost tumbler, leave your lid open during the day and close it at night when things start cooling off. This will help keep things warm inside so they cook more quickly.

Be patient and wait for the compost to be ready. It does not happen overnight!

TIP #3: ADD ORGANIC MATTER TO YOUR COMPOST TUMBLER

Most compost tumblers have a side door or opening where you can easily add material, even when the compost is already in process. Almost anything can be composted in a tumbler, as long as it’s organic. Food scraps are fantastic in your compost tumbler. In fact, this is a great way to dispose of them!

This includes fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, leaves, grass clippings, and so on. However, you should avoid meats, dairy products, oils, and other processed foods.

TIP #4: AVOID ADDING PROCESSED FOOD AND MEATS

You should avoid putting meats, dairy products, oils, and other processed foods in your compost tumbler. These items will spoil and attract pests. Dairy products and meat contain also contain enzymes that can slow down or halt the composting process.

TIP #5: TURN YOUR COMPOST TUMBLER FREQUENTLY

Turning your compost tumbler is an important tip when it comes to using a compost tumbler. You should turn it every day or two to ensure that all the material is exposed to air and moisture.

Most compost tumblers have a crank or handle that you can use to rotate the barrel. Alternatively, you can turn your tumbler by hand once a day.

TIP #6: AVOID USING COMPOST TUMBLERS TO GET RID OF WEEDS

You should not use your compost tumbler to compost weeds, especially if they’ve already gone to seed. Most compost piles don’t get hot enough to kill the weed seeds. If there are live weed seeds in your finished compost, you’ll be spreading weeds all around your yard and garden right along with your precious compost.

TIP #7: KEEP YOUR COMPOST TUMBLER AT THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE

Temperature is an important part of composting, so you’ll need to check your composter’s temperature often with a thermometer. The ideal temperature should be between 100-140 degrees Fahrenheit (37-60 Celsius).

If you can’t get your compost tumbler to reach these temperatures, it might mean that the ratio of greens and browns is off. If it’s too hot, add browns (leaves, sticks, etc.). If it’s too cold, add greens such as grass clippings, plant trimmings, food scraps, etc.

TIP #8: ADD WATER TO YOUR COMPOST TUMBLER

Especially if you’re composting dry materials like leaves, you should add water to your compost tumbler regularly. This will help the process along and keep things at the proper temperature for the microbes and bacteria that help the waste decompose into compost. But if you have enough green material, you shouldn’t need to add water very often.

TIP #9: ADD GREEN MATERIALS

Green materials like food scraps and grass clippings are high in nitrogen, which is necessary for composting. Add these to your compost tumbler as often as possible to help keep things moving along.

TIP #10: CLOSE THE LID AT NIGHT

If you want to speed up the process in your composter, leave your lid open during the day and close it at night when things start cooling off. This will help keep things warm inside so they cook more quickly.

TIP #11: PREVENT MAGGOTS AND RATS

Maggots in compost are caused by flies laying eggs in your compost tumbler. You can prevent this by keeping the cover closed!

If you do happen to see maggots in your compost tumbler, it means that the pile may have too much moisture or green material. Add dry organic matter to help fix the problem.

If you’re continuing to have trouble with pests in your compost pile, try adding lime to the mix. This will make the pH unappealing to most pests.

TIP #12: KNOW WHEN YOUR COMPOST IS READY

You can tell your compost is ready by checking the texture, which should be crumbly. The compost will also have little to no discernible odor, and worms will not be present in a compost tumbler, at there’s no way for them to enter or exit the pile, but the compost should have little to no discernible odor.

TIP #13: KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH FINISHED COMPOST

Once your compost has finished cooking down, all that remains will be rich black humus with a sweet earthy smell. This can then be used as mulch around trees or shrubs or added into flower beds to help improve soil quality over time.

WITH THESE TIPS, NOW YOU KNOW HOW TO USE A COMPOST TUMBLER!

Composting is a great way to turn your food scraps into something useful. We recommend using a compost tumbler because it’s easier to maintain than other setups. We hope you’ve found our guide to compost tumblers helpful!

Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COMPOST TUMBLER TIP?

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