Saturday, May 10, 2008

My next project

We've been busy visiting my parents and going to my youngest sister's wedding, but I found a new project that I must do once we move: a tumbling composter. I found this link for one DIY tumbling composter, then found another variation that I like better from The Urban Homesteaders. It spins vertically, rather than on its side, for better mixing and aeration.

You can get plastic 55-gallon barrels for free from car wash places, then spray paint them black with special paint designed for plastics. Even if you buy all the other materials new, it wouldn't cost very much at all. I have visions of a line of these spinning composters along the edge of our (future) garden...

I admit that I have never before composted, because it seemed too intimidating, with all of the talk of mixing and aeration and proper carbon balance. But I've decided to stop making excuses.


  1. I am urban, but not crafty. I recently posted about composting and linked to several friends who have varying experiences with composting. I hope you had a chance to read their wisdom.

  2. Very cool. I had a composter at our old house, but never used it. Like you, it intimidated me a little, and besides I knew we wouldn't be staying in that house long. I definitely plan to do it in the next place, though, since I hope we have room for a huge garden. My kids have been deciding all the things they want in the garden, which we call our "Out of Debt Garden" since we'll be out of debt by that time. Ben has decided he wants a banana tree. :)

    I look forward to hearing how this method of composting works for you. I love the idea of doing such a great thing for very little money.

  3. By the way, have you guys found a house yet? When do you intend to move?

  4. I have 3 "Earth Machines" ( I LOVE them. One of the local municipalities was selling them for $10 each, and so I started out with 2. Went back for 2 more a year later.

    So why am I down to 3 now? Well we moved to a new house with less vegetation (read: no trees that stand 30 feet tall with 4' diameter trunks), so we really didn't need all 4. And my sister moved into town, and wanted I gave her one.

    So anyway...I LOVE them. I like the concept of the spinner ones producing compost faster, but then again, they take more space because you need to leave room to flip them. The Earth Machines I have lined up against the back wall of my garage.

    Composting really is pretty easy. I don't follow "the rules" to a T as far as layering brown and green...but I do make sure to only put proper compostables in it (lots of our table scraps are, as well as grass trimmings, leaves...). I turn periodically. I used to have one of the "compost turner" stick things...but it got lost when we moved. I need to buy a new one--a pitch fork just isn't doing the job.

    My grandfather composted way before it was "cool." His homemade compost pile was made out of cinder blocks and was about 5' by 10'! He had it divided down the middle, and he would turn one side onto the other periodically.

    Good luck!


  5. Don't stress!! Composting is easy. I was all worried about it too, but the Earth Machines are great. Spinnable ones sound cool, but the Earth Machines are easy peasy. Choose whichever works for you and don't worry about it.

    I don't follow all the "rules" either....I mostly compost kitchen scraps, so I don't use as much 'brown' stuff as I'm supposed to....yet my compost came out just fine. Don't worry about being perfect, just do it. It's really a much less big deal than I thought! Esp with a bin that closes.

    Have fun!! kmom

  6. We have a little patch behind the shed where we toss kitchen scraps. When we rake leaves in the spring and fall we pile them on top of the scraps. Once in awhile I get out there with the shovel and turn things around, but that's it. Obviously we aren't doing it "right" but the compost turns out great. So don't be intimidated! So sorry we missed you guys the other day.


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