Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

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Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby karyn » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:02 pm

Hi everyone, have seen a few threads on this topic. My sister's thinking of getting one, but she's a lazy gardener and an even lazier composter. Do you think this would be suitable for someone to throw a few scraps, some autumn leaves, a few weeds, some lawn clippings and turn once in a while? Or do you need to actually work at them? She has a couple of "Dalek" style ones (black, square, put the stuff in and put the lid back on) and she never does it properly so ends up with mouldy muck on a bed of bone dry grass... Would love to hear from similarly unenthused composters about how it went for them!
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Re: Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby GoldenWattle » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:55 pm

Here's the model I bought. I like it better than the end-over-end style of the Tumbleweed brand. I've had it for about 6 months and I only just started to use the compost I'd put into it. For those who claim they produce useable compost in 2 weeks, that's certainly not my experience. I think regardless of the type of composting you do, turning the heap is an essential part of the process. It's certainly easier using a rotating bin though. You also have to get your ratio of wet to dry right too, otherwise you can end up with a sludgy mess, regardless of what type of bin or bay you have... What I do appreciate about the bin is that it's close to the house, so I don't have to go all the way to the vegie patch to dispose of the day's kitchen scraps - convenience does make it more likely for a reluctant composter to give it a go...

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Re: Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby Pam » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:11 am

I have my doubts Karyn, although anything's possible. They really need to be loaded up with a full batch at the outset to be able to generate enough heat to get working on the composting process. It sounds as though the mix that she has in mind would probably work quite well (a mix of greens and browns) but she's also going to need to throw in some manure or something to get it cooking.

The main purpose of the turning process though is for airation, and if she's not going to be bothered with that she could well end up with a stinky rotten mass or at best, it would come out the way it went in.

PS if she does end up getting one, I'd suggest she leaves in in the horizontal position (rather than vertical) after turning, to get maximum exposure to the sun.
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Re: Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby GoldenWattle » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:57 am

Have you considered a worm farm instead? If kitchen scraps are the main source of composting material, this is the way to go...

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Re: Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby bubba louie » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:05 pm

I've got one sitting unused. Never could get it to produce anything worthwhile.
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Re: Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby GoldenWattle » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:13 am

bubba louie wrote:I've got one sitting unused. Never could get it to produce anything worthwhile.

I have to admit BL, mine's gone into disuse in the past 6 months. I did get it to produce worm castings, but I guess I found it too much maintenance. However, it's brought me to an idea I think I'll try. When I started using my compost tumbler, I put the soil that accumulated in the gutter at the bottom of my driveway into the bin and it was teaming with worms. Despite any heat that might have been generated by the horse manure I added, it didn't seem to affect the number of worms. My open heap compost at the back of the garden always had lots of worms too despite the steam that rised out of it when I turned it. Soooo, I decided I'll try adding worms from the worm farm (if there's still any in there) to the compost tumbler and see how that goes.

As an aside, I thought I'd throw in an observation. Every so often I add shredded paper to my compost heap and tumbler. I noticed that for whatever reason, the worms just congregate towards any clumps of damp shredded paper. I noticed this when I harvested fresh compost from the bin.

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Re: Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby Pam » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:46 am

They seem to love hair too.
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Re: Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby bubba louie » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:46 pm

GoldenWattle wrote:
bubba louie wrote:I've got one sitting unused. Never could get it to produce anything worthwhile.

I have to admit BL, mine's gone into disuse in the past 6 months. I did get it to produce worm castings, but I guess I found it too much maintenance. However, it's brought me to an idea I think I'll try. When I started using my compost tumbler, I put the soil that accumulated in the gutter at the bottom of my driveway into the bin and it was teaming with worms. Despite any heat that might have been generated by the horse manure I added, it didn't seem to affect the number of worms. My open heap compost at the back of the garden always had lots of worms too despite the steam that rised out of it when I turned it. Soooo, I decided I'll try adding worms from the worm farm (if there's still any in there) to the compost tumbler and see how that

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Whoops. I meant the tumbler. My worms are still hanging in there despite my terrible neglect.
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Re: Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby Getafix » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:56 am

I've just bought one and I must say so far I'm pretty impressed, but then I love playing around with compost so may not be the best comparison for your sister! Also it is early days and I've only done a couple of batches.

The main attraction for me was that it's a closed system, so you know exactly what has gone in there, and you can make specific recipes for specific applications (but this doesn't really sound relevant to your sister), and it is also pretty good at keeping vermin and other pests out. One issue i do have with it is emptying it once it's ready...it's not straightforward at all, but with practice, i'm sure i'll develop a better technique for this.

Pam referred to positioning in the sun in her post and this certainly does help, but i hadn't thought about keeping it horizontal to maximise exposure, but that does make sense. I'll have to try it.

Bare in mind that once full, they can actually be quite heavy to turn, so i'm not sure if that would put your sister off. The Aerobin is marketed as a set and forget one that is meant to aerate itself, but i think they are even more expensive than the tumblers, and apparently they can be quite fiddly to set up properly.
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Re: Tumbleweed Compost tumbler

Postby jack » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:51 am

i have one, it works well, i love it and i a lazy composter as well.
main issue i have had is getting the compost out of it, not a easy process and spiders love living in the areas that i like to hold when tumbling.
egg shells see to be only thing that did not break down last time, oh the plastic bags did not break down either but i do know a 10 year old girl who puts my compost into bin is sometimes a bit keen with her additions.
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