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Tips for compost tumbler

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Post  trolleydriver 8/17/2017, 4:56 pm

I emptied the EnviroCycle Tumbler.  As Sanderson discovered when she emptied her tumbler, I have damp lumpy material. I refilled the tumbler with leaves, grass/clover clippings and the dead pea vines from the SFG. According to the tumbler instructions it should be turned three times every three days. Maybe I will graph the compost temperatures and post them in "TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer" thread. Starting temperature today is 78F.
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Post  sanderson 8/18/2017, 3:36 am

Welcome to the lumpy club. glad you\'re here It's day 17 for my Lifetime and the temps are still in the 140-153*F range. I am leaving it open for several hours a day, now, and turning it daily. I'm hoping it will help reduce the moisture, let the temps drop and de-clump it a bit.

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Post  trolleydriver 8/18/2017, 12:10 pm

@sanderson wrote:Welcome to the lumpy club.   glad you\'re here  It's day 17 for my Lifetime and the temps are still in the 140-153*F range.  I am leaving it open for several hours a day, now, and turning it daily.  I'm hoping it will help reduce the moisture, let the temps drop and de-clump it a bit.  
Wow those are great temps.
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Post  sanderson 8/25/2017, 2:34 pm

Today is day #21 and I will be emptying my Lifetime tumbler.  The temps are 120-130*F but it smells good.  Starting a new one tomorrow with husband's help in picking up a new bail of straw, mowing some of the flakes, collecting Starbucks and horse manure.  Tonight I will work my magic on the farmer market vendors for their culls!  Razz  Ken will carry the buckets to the truck.  You are probably wondering how I can claim that it's my compost when Ken does all the heavy lifting.  Well, tomorrow I will cut up the culls and build #3 tumbler.  102*F What a Face  And turn and nurture it for days. Wink

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Post  trolleydriver 8/25/2017, 5:09 pm

sanderson ... nice!!!

My tumbler is doing nothing. I added more chopped leaves and grass/clover clippings to bring the contents back up to full level. I rotated the bin many times during this process. Hopefully, it will start doing something.  If not I may give it a shot of blood meal. And if that does not work this thing may find itself advertised on kijiji.

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Post  sanderson 8/25/2017, 7:17 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:And if that does not work this thing may find itself advertised on kijiji.
Razz  I know how you feel.  My Tumbler #1 stuff that was a bust is stored in the holey 33-gallon can.  Just siting there. tongue I hope #4 turns out as good as lumpy #2 and less-lumpy #3.

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Post  jimmy cee 6/14/2018, 10:29 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:I really like how easy these are to turn!  Of course, I had the smaller version....
it isnt one for just turning when full. Use sort of a rocking motion. spaces are ample for rolling and rockin. everytime you roll, just advance a little more. Also a good idea to open door after rolling and rockin  fluff the material up a bit more, especially in center.This can be done with almost any of those small hand gardening tools.
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Post  donnainzone5 6/15/2018, 1:24 pm

Thanks for the tips, Jimmy C!
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Post  Roseinarosecity 6/15/2018, 5:25 pm

My tumbler is too large for me to turn, so now I just use it for the Black Soldier Fly composting.  As soon as the temperature averages 80 degrees F, I start adding all my stored greens.  The BSF's come and I let them eat it up! If I ever had to get a new tumbler, I would get the smallest one.
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Post  farmersgranddaughter 6/15/2018, 10:13 pm

I got a Hot Frog dual compost tumbler.  The left side is full.  Now to start on the right side.  We'll see how it turns out.
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Post  jimmy cee 6/15/2018, 11:02 pm

@farmersgranddaughter wrote:I got a Hot Frog dual compost tumbler.  The left side is full.  Now to start on the right side.  We'll see how it turns out.
I returned my tumbler today. You mention 2 halves. I have seen them and from all information I've picked up on composting, the more mass you have the better it composts. Having 2 sections defeats that purpose. The smaller an area is, the longer it will take to compost. I started filling my tumbler in January and quit about 6 weeks ago. It is about 2/3rds finished. Instead of another tumbler for the time being I will be storing miy newer material in an outside wire ring. Weed fabric will be positioned to hold everything back, allowing air movement.
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Post  sanderson 6/16/2018, 12:28 am

The 80 single chamber heats up well. I also went for the largest volume.

Rose, what kind do you have that it is too hard to turn?

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Post  jimmy cee 6/16/2018, 11:11 pm

This is what I'll be using till I decide on another tumbler. It's possible that it may work good enough that I will just stick with it...Inexpensive 2 x 3 inch wire, weed barrier to hold material in and allow air to penetrate. Bottom is open for drainage.Extremely simple and cheap. When it needs to be turned just pull it up. Move it next to pile, then just fork the material back in...

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Post  Roseinarosecity 6/17/2018, 10:15 pm

@sanderson wrote:The 80 single chamber heats up well.  I also went for the largest volume.

Rose, what kind do you have that it is too hard to turn?

I bought it a looong time ago at Costco; it's a Lifetime but I don't remember a model number.  It's in my shadiest location in my garden and now I have three blueberry potted plants in first of it so I lost the area for my footing.
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Post  jimmy cee 6/19/2018, 10:54 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:sanderson ... nice!!!

My tumbler is doing nothing. I added more chopped leaves and grass/clover clippings to bring the contents back up to full level. I rotated the bin many times during this process. Hopefully, it will start doing something.  If not I may give it a shot of blood meal. And if that does not work this thing may find itself advertised on kijiji.

2 - Tips for compost tumbler - Page 3 Bin3-230
If you can get a bucket of fresh horse or cow manure, bout half a five gallon can will do the trick. My envirocycle has never really been up to temperature in the 5 -6 years I've had it. 2 days ago I added half a 5 gallon bucket of fresh oozing cow manure. Rolled it a dozen times and pitchforked inside trying to break up clumpy balls. This morning I stuck my head in the feel and it was very warm...fresh manure is the trick...I will try to get a temp reading soon.
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Post  sanderson 6/20/2018, 2:25 am

If you can't get horse manure (I use about 33 gallons of horse manure per batch of compost!) use some alfalfa pellets for horses and cows. They expand when wet and help ignite the pile. Very Happy

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Post  Kelejan 6/22/2018, 12:31 pm

The one thing I use my compost tumbler for is to foil the bears.  After putting in some shredded leaves from last fall, plus some dried grass, it is easy to put in the daily veggie and fruit remains and give it a spin.  If it starts to get a little too wet, I would add more dried brown leaves, or shredded newspaper etc to soak up the moisture. i never need to add moisture.  When the contents have turned un-identifiable I then transfer them to my regular compost pile where they can feed the worms.

I don't fill the tumbler full otherwise I cannot turn it.  As soon as it gets harder to turn, that is when I transfer the contents to my regular compost pile.  The tumbler I have now, I would not buy again because of the difficulty of turning it and also how hard it is to slide the opening back and forth.

In the 22 years I have been here the bears have never bothered my compost.

The bears and other peoples' garbage are another problem not of my making. Very Happy
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Post  OhioGardener 8/6/2018, 3:12 pm

I have two compost tumblers - the bigger one is an old ComposTumbler Twin (left), and the smaller one is a newer Jora Composter JK270 (right).  Both are dual-chamber, and the generate a lot of compost. It takes about one month to complete a load of compost, and by rotating the 4 sections I take out a load every week. In addition to kitchen scraps and garden cleanups, I collect coffee grounds from local coffee shops and vegetable/fruit pulp from a local juice bar, which I mix with compressed pine pellets (sold as horse bedding).  When a section is filled, it quickly reaches temps of 140°F to 160°F, and starts composting. With daily turning, that section is finished in about a month and ready to go into the gardens.  Sometimes a section gets too dry and I have to add water, or sometimes it gets too wet and I have to add more pellets, but overall it takes care of itself.


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Post  sanderson 8/6/2018, 8:16 pm

2 - Tips for compost tumbler - Page 3 3170584802 I have a single-chamber 80-gallon Lifetime and it takes about a month to make usable compost.

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Post  OhioGardener 8/10/2018, 1:51 pm

Stopped by Starbucks today, and came home with about 25# of fresh coffee grounds. In a few weeks it will be rich compost for the gardens.


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Post  sanderson 8/10/2018, 2:34 pm

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Post  jimmy cee 8/10/2018, 10:39 pm

@OhioGardener wrote:Stopped by Starbucks today, and came home with about 25# of fresh coffee grounds. In a few weeks it will be rich compost for the gardens.


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Keep getting it, store in its own separate pile outside. Mine had zillions of little red worms living in it.
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Post  Kelejan 8/11/2018, 9:42 am

Jimmy, where do the worms come from in your pile of coffee grounds?
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Post  OhioGardener 8/11/2018, 5:43 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:
Keep getting it, store in its own separate pile outside. Mine had zillions of little red worms living in it.

I pick it up on a regular basis, Jimmy, and with the 4 composter tumblers going full time I am able to create one batch of compost per week. Sometimes I spread coffee grounds thinly right on top of the gardens - it deters slugs & snails during our monsoon season.  The earthworms love the coffee ground compost!  We have 4 Starbuck's within a short driving distance, plus their stores inside the grocery stores, so there are always a lot of coffee grounds.  But, as more and more people are getting into organic gardening, there is sometimes competition as to who gets the grounds first. Very Happy 

For years I did vermicomposting, and the redworms in the Can-O-Worms loved their coffee grounds, too.  But, I don't do that anymore due to space constraints.

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Post  jimmy cee 8/11/2018, 10:08 pm

@Kelejan wrote:Jimmy, where do the worms come from in your pile of coffee grounds?
I honestly don't know.
I placed grinds in the middle space between 2 larger compost pits. I am sure I had over 500 lbs at one time.
In adjacent compost pits I did add quite a bit of horse manure, This is where I believe the worms came from.
I never added worms at all.
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