Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption
 


       Downsizer Forum Index -> Grow Your Own
Treacodactyl

Compost tumblers

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?
Jam Lady

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

Dalek bins look like daleks. Wink 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

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

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

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

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

Just bought one for the in-laws...


They would probably take a long time to rot down. Wink

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

This is the one I bought (for the in-laws use Rolling Eyes):
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 Wink )
Treacodactyl

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. Rolling Eyes )

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

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

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

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

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

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.
Treacodactyl

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

The idea with a tumbler is the heap is enclosed and very easy to tumble. It's not just about the mixing, a cement mixer would mix but not provide a good place for stuff to rot. If you're going to fork the compost in each day you may as well mix it anyway.

The idea with a tumbler is I can mix a small heaps worth in seconds in each day, keeping the mixture aerated and hopefully rot quicker.
Slim

We are both weight and volume here. It varies between towns, and even within towns.

Most people pay by volume, and pay a hauler to pick up a bin of a certain size a certain number of times per month depending upon their needs. Those haulers will add surcharges if you keep putting out noticeably heavy bins however, as they are paying by weight further down the line. (or maybe they just make you pay for more frequent pick-ups)

The more frugal of us haul our own trash to the transfer station, and there you can pay by volume or weight, though I think they'd prefer to charge you by weight. (I usually pay by volume because I recycle and compost a lot, so my leftover garbage is often heavy....)

Anything larger at the transfer station is done by weight (i.e., a truckload)
dpack

just a thought but would scrap heap challenge including a pv panel, a windscreen wiper motor , a rotor as one of the bearer rollers, some gears and a big insulated barrel be a place to start with a domestic version of the commercial tumblers.
a bit like a tumble polisher for stones , even a hand turned one might be easiest if the drum is supported on a pair of rollers.

the huge ones go from waste to compost very quickly as they run quite warm and tumble constantly to add air to the mix.

for speed putting everything through a shredder before composting helps a lot even with a old style heap.
Slim

If you're looking for speed and automation, you may do better to pursue an "aerated static pile"

Basically, shove a perforated pipe under or through a compost pile, hook a blower and watch it go. Hook the blower up to a solar panel for maximum green
dpack

a pooter fan ,panel and basic control gear to match voltage to fan would make that rig cheap and easy Treacodactyl

If you're looking for speed and automation, you may do better to pursue an "aerated static pile"

Basically, shove a perforated pipe under or through a compost pile, hook a blower and watch it go. Hook the blower up to a solar panel for maximum green

Speed yes, and not having to get a fork out to turn a pile everyday. No desire whatsoever to start having electric gadgets involved.

We've looked at a few videos of the smaller tumblers and they seem far too small. Larger tumblers are far too expensive so I might have to go back to getting the fork out everyday.
Mistress Rose

Could you make your own using an old oil barrel? NorthernMonkeyGirl

From various reviews, the general consensus seemed to be that any load big enough to be worth turning was too heavy to turn Rolling Eyes
That may depend on exactly how sturdy the tumbler is and how much leverage you get. The infrastructure also takes up a lot of room.
       Downsizer Forum Index -> Grow Your Own
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home