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Compost Tumbler

Compost tumblers can speed up and eliminate at least part of the harder work of fast or "hot" composting. The microorganisms that do the actual composting work can be considered the livestock of the compost ranch. Like all living creatures they have three requirements for survival, food, water and air. The food is the organic material to be composted. Water is supplied by hose, bucket, or the original moisture contained in the organic material. Air is the hardest to get to the center of the pile as it slowly compacts under the pull of gravity.

A compost pile starts out as a mixture of large and small materials and air can often make its way to the center of the pile by way of pockets that are left open by the larger pieces of matter. However, as the microorganisms continue their work of composting, the larger pieces get broken down and the smaller ones compact so as to close off the air. The pile can go anaerobic as the microorganisms die off and a new type take up space. These new ones will continue the composting work but it will be slower and the pile will have an odor that most people do not like.

Turning the pile introduces air to all parts of it and allows the aerobic flora and fauna to flourish. The pile will actually heat up with their bodily processes and the composting will be much faster. Dedicated turners of compost claim to have finished compost in two weeks or less. On the other hand, a hot pile loses water by evaporation and adding it by pouring tends to compact the pile which means it needs turning and so on and so forth. Considering that a yard of compost can easily be measured by the ton, turning can be a lot of work.

Enter the compost tumbler. It is designed to tumble or roll the compost pile. A tumbler may rotate around an axle either through its long axis or its short, roll over wheels or other bearings, or be rolled around on the ground. Some means exists inside the tumbler to prevent the slippery compost from merely moving, but rather to be mixed and turned. Water tends to be less of a problem as the evaporated moisture collects on the inside of the tumbler and drips back down on the pile. Ease of turning means that it is done more often and the compost is generally ready much quicker than with a regular pile.

With this in mind and a desire for the great garden compost will bring, a compost tumbler may be in your future.

Darrell Feltmate is an avid gardener who has been composting and gardening for over 25 years with gardens up to 1/2 acre and compost piles for each. His composting site may be found at Compost Central. You can be a master composter in no time at all.

Much of his compost uses wood shavings from his wood turning hobby. The site for wood turning may be found at Around the Woods.

Source: www.ezinearticles.com