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Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25689
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 1:59 pm    Post subject: Compost tumblers  Reply with quote    

Does anyone have experience of compost tumblers? I'd like a way of speeding up compost production and have often looked at a tumbler but tend to think they're not really worth the money. I've read they may not necessarily be any quicker than a heap but could be good for grass clippings which we have loads of. (Fairly rough clippings so probably a good mix of green and woody material).

I have a couple of dalek bins but they seem very slow as I don't tend to turn them very often. Long term I'd make some big wooden bins but I'm a few years away from doing that.

Any good or bad comments about them?

Last edited by Treacodactyl on Tue Feb 28, 17 3:11 pm; edited 1 time in total

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 1585
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Not sure what a dalek bin looks like, but if you don't turn them why would a tumbler get more attention? How about hiring a middle school footballer one day every other week and let them turn / tumble and do whatever else you have that's heavy lifting / boring.

BTW - grass clippings, even rough ones, tend to mat down and turn slimy / stinky with anaerobic decomposition. If you don't have browns (autumn leaves, for example) to mix with the greens an easy fix is shredded newspaper. When I bought a paper shredder I made sure to get one that handles newspaper for just this reason.

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25689
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Dalek bins look like daleks. A plastic bin that's wider at the bottom than the top and with a lid. To turn you have to remove the bin and fork the compost back in. With a heap you have to turn it into another heap with a fork. With a tumbler the material is put into a barrel and you simply turn the barrel, much easier but at a cost.

As for the clippings, they are very, very rough. More like straw than your typical lawn clippings.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 32343
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

when i have had plenty of grass clippings i found that adding a layer of twiggy sticks every 6 inches or so as the heap grows adds air without cooling the heap too much and increases the composting rate considerably.

boosting the heap with " mixture" tm is also a good idea if there is a lot of green stuff in it. a bit of soil and BFB in a bucket will make a good booster as well.

re tumblers,daleks etc from those i have seen they are not as good as a few pallets and a carpet lid.

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14702
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have an end to end turning composter and it does speed up composting (Not tried grass cuttings though). It is very heavy to turn, I can do it, but it's a PITA. If I were to buy one now (and I might) I would get one of the big ones that turns around the long axis, and be aware that handle of some sort would be amazingly useful.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 4356
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I've heard great things about the speed at which rotating compost tumblers work. Just bought one for the in-laws with two compartments so that you have room to add fresh material while the first compartment matures. So long as you don't get it too wet, or too dry I think they probably work a lot faster than a pile.

I tend to not get around to turning my pile....

onemanband



Joined: 26 Dec 2010
Posts: 1426
Location: NCA90
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Friend of mine made one ten or so years ago. He still uses it and is proud of the results he gets. Made from plastic 'oil drum' with hinged opening. It works best for finishing off compost, but capacity is small. IIRC only 1/4 full works best - too much stuff and it doesn't tumble.

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25689
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Slim wrote:
Just bought one for the in-laws...


They would probably take a long time to rot down.

Keeping kitchen scraps out of the reach of animals is a definite benefit. I'm still a bit unsure if one would be worth it as I keep thinking of the amount of ready made compost I could buy for the same price. On the other hand unless we try one I don't think we'll know if it can produce quicker compost than a simple heap.

We are looking at ones that are easy to turn but, as mentioned, quantities of produced compost would be small.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 4356
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

This is the one I bought (for the in-laws use ):
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B009378AG2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Not sure if there's similar on UK Amazon, but it's not equivalent to that much purchased compost over here.

(And are you aiming to have the composter for production purposes, or for waste stream mitigation purposes? If you account for the avoided garbage costs (if you work on a weight basis like we do here) than you can factor that value in to your rationalization as well )

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
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Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That looks very similar to the one we're looking at via an organic garden association we're members of.

Our kitchen waste is already composted in plastic bins but would put that materiel in the tumbler if we had one to avoid future problems. (We actually have to pay tax to get our green waste collected even though the council don't actually collect it as we're too remote. )

Our main purpose of the tumbler is to create as much compost as quick as possible.

onemanband



Joined: 26 Dec 2010
Posts: 1426
Location: NCA90
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Slim. Is that your domestic waste by weight ? How's that work ? Does it work ? New thing or always that way ?

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14702
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 17 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have one like this.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B005EGEDH6/ref=mp_s_a_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1488322488&sr=8-14&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=compost+tumbler

Although it's smaller, it's really hard to turn as all the weight is always at the bottom (It might be easier for someone taller) If I was buying again I'd buy one like Slim showed, because it's not such a big diameter to turn around the axis, and it's bigger. I might buy one anyway.

If the pivot bar goes through the centre, it aerates as you turn, increasing the capacity and preventing it just flopping around inside as one big lump.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 3926
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 17 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Surely an old electric cement mixer would do the same job,without the hasle of tumbling by hand.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8208

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 17 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It would Ty Gwyn, but you wouldn't get very much in it I don't think.

They keep coming up with the idea here of charging us by weight for non-recyclable waste, but it is too complicated as it would be too easy to slip heavy stuff into someone elses bin in a close packed road.

We give most of our kitchen waste (except bones etc.) to the worms, most garden waste goes in a compost bin, and I have a 'green dome' one that gets things like potato haulms as they break right down in that and no potential things like blight can get out.

onemanband



Joined: 26 Dec 2010
Posts: 1426
Location: NCA90
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 17 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Mistress Rose wrote:
They keep coming up with the idea here of charging us by weight for non-recyclable waste, but it is too complicated as it would be too easy to slip heavy stuff into someone elses bin in a close packed road.


Hence my questions to Slim. I pay for my commercial waste by weight as do the council when they dispose of our domestic waste. Done properly I think it would discourage waste generation better than the current method of just making it longer between collections or reducing 'tidy tip' opening times. I do see though, convincing everybody else won't be easy.

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