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Home compost question  RSS feed

 
                                
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I picked up a couple 55 gal (plastic) drums with screw on tops. My plan is to use one for rain water collection and the other for a rotating compost bin to get me started down the road of green and organic.

Started doing some research on composting and I see a 3’ x 3’ x 3’ pile seems to be the ideal size for cooking compost.

Will a drum really work? Any advice…I’ve seen…drill lots of holes…don’t drill any holes….turn daily….turn weekly…cooks in weeks….cooks in months…?

Thanks
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i have a small rotating compost tumbler and it works fairly well, but i also have a large pile for the bigger stuff, the tumbler is basically for household compostables like shredded paper, kitchen scraps, etc.

mine has holes in each end and a door in the center, but with your turn off top that wouldn't be necessary.

make sure you keep it moist enough to rot well, and sure you can roll it around the property to keep it turned..i guess...mine is on a stand.
 
Chuck Freeman
Posts: 116
Location: Southcentral Alaska
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I've never used one but it seems one without some kind of air circulation or you would have anaerobic bacteria which would smell like rotten garbage. I would want aerobic bacteria for good clean compost.
 
Alison Thomas
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Location: France
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I had one and  have to say that I didn't like it.  My bog standard bin made lovely compost much quicker.  The 'turner' one seemed to always fill with rain through the holes in the sides so the compost was a constant soggy mess.  It was on a stand so that turning was easy - pah, not easy cos it gets heavy. Plus it blew over in strong winds and was a devil to then get back on the stand.  I happily left mine behind in Scotland when we moved here.  Sorry, Davidb6, in my opinion they're a gimmick.  Use the other drum to make nettle or comfrey tea.
 
                                
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I spent many years keeping salt water reef tanks. What I liked the most was there was never "one right way" or "one right answer"...took a lot of trial and error.

Going organic for my lawn...composting and making compost tea seem to be exactly the same. So many good ideas and very few are the same.

Alison -The idea for the tumbler idea came from my back problems. I didn't want to introduce a chore that might cause me to bend over and use my back. I also like the very clean look of the drum..also don't have a good spot for a three bin compost pile although I'm sure that would work better. If the drum works I may setup two of them so there at different stages.

Also, I don't have a veg garden. I do have herbs and lots of plants in need of good soil and my lawn soil has been ruined by using chemical fertilizers...it's dead just a couple inches under the nice green grass so I do need to get compost on that. Will likly do a top dressing and apply tea. 

Chuck - I agree. I've seen a 2" pipe in the center with air holes lettnig air in from the bottom as well. That plan also called for drilling 3/8 in holes all around the drum.

Brenda - Glad to see yours is working. Mine will be just over 55 gal (220L) and will be mounted on a strong stand so I can spin it end over end to mix things up. I don't plan to put any holes in the top lid so the rain water should only get in through all the small hols in the sides. I can water it myself (rain drum) as needed.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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In my climate, a drum system might have the opposite problem: without a consistent mulch cover, it would dry out much sooner, and active composting would be limited even more strictly to the rainy season (or be a larger drain on water supplies).
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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ours doesn't fill with water in the rain, as our holes on ours is on the ends (sides)..however we dump in some urine or dirty water when it needs it
 
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