How to use your new Compost Tumbler!
The barrel is made from two separate 180 litre compartments, and can hold 8 to 9 lawn catcher loads of material. Leave enough room at the top when loading materials to allow for movement in the first while the contents heat through and decompose. The barrels must be at least half full, any less material will not allow a ‘heat zone’ to be created. This style of tumbler can reach 55+ degree Celsius.
Anything that has been living is “organic” and can be added to your Compost Tumbler – except meat. It is important to layer both green and dry ingredients to get the best results. If mainly using garden waste in your tumbler, the ideal ratio is 4:1 with dry ingredients. However if only using vegetable waste in your mix, the ratio would be more like 1:1 with dry components as the vegetable waste holds more moisture than garden waste.
Typical Materials Dry & Green
Fresh lawn clippings – main ingredient and should be added day 1. Saw dust/wood shavings
Weeds/soft pruning Shredded newspaper – no glossy print
Vegetable peelings/fruit skin Dry leaves
Tea bags/coffee grounds Vacuum dust
Hay/straw – dampened before addition Torn up cardboard/paper towelling
Try to keep the lid facing forward. Especially when raining. Water may pass around the lid and inside the tumbler making the mix too wet.
Add a small amount of top soil from a health garden bed. The essential microbes are required to break down the waste.
Adding a small amount of farm manure can also bring more microbes & speed up the process.
Turn the tumbler slowly and allow the compost to tumble gently. This allows the materials inside to mix fully.
Do not over fill will make the tumbler hard to turn.
You can be adding scraps to one barrel while the other is breaking down.
Turning The Mixture
Use the moulded in hand-grips to rotate the barrel – one hand in front of the other in a walking motion. Five full rotations a day is enough. Daily movement is a necessary part of the cycle as it allows oxygen to circulate and the aerobic bacteria to flourish. The materials inside will reach a temperature of 55+ degrees within a couple of days and will be maintained for about 10 days – destroying any pathogens that may cause disease. Leave the lid at the top of the barrel between daily rotations. If any moisture drips from the aeration vents slightly adjust the ratio of ingredients by adding some extra dry materials.
The last four days is the cooling off period, which should leave the compost slightly damp.
Remove the lid of the side to be emptied. Use a tray underneath and roll over until the door is at the bottom.
Rock the barrel to release the compost onto the ground or a tray. There will be some left in the barrel but this will assist in activating bacteria for your next compost cycle.
Using the Compost
Digging below the surface of the garden will help condition the soil, encouraging earthworms and bacterial activity. This will help aerate and feed the soil. You can also spread onto the surface garden beds. Compost helps maintain the moisture and the nutrients will leech down to the plant roots with watering. However ensure to keep slightly away from plant stems to allow them to breath. Potted plants will also benefit from some compost – soak a small amount of your compost in a bucket of water for an hour or two then drain the nutrient filled water onto your plants.