Experienced gardeners know that composting is one of the kindest, most environmentally friendly things you can do for your garden. Compost enriches your soil, helps retain moisture, minimizes the need to apply fertilizer and other chemicals, helps prevent pests and disease, and increases beneficial bacteria that creates nutrient-rich humus. So what’s the problem? Composting isn’t difficult once you get the hang of it, but turning the compost with a shovel or pitchfork can be a real chore. If you’re a gardener with a bad back, keeping your compost well-aerated and percolating properly can be nearly impossible.
Yet, turning the compost frequently is an absolute must. It speeds up the decomposition process, provides aeration, and makes it easier for microbes to break down material. One of the most effective ways to solve this gardening conundrum is to switch to a compost tumbler. A sturdy, well-constructed tumbler offers a host of benefits, such as:
- Tumblers are fully sealed, other than screened vents. This ensures that heat is contained and material composts quickly. In fact, many gardeners report that compost is ready for use in about half the time as other composters.
- Traditional compost bins are a magnet for rodents, raccoons and neighborhood dogs. On the other hand, tumblers allow no entrance for unwelcome critters.
- Tumblers are neat, tidy units that are easier on the eye than most compost bins.
- Composting odors are significantly minimized. You’ll still enjoy that rich, earthy compost aroma, but the smell of rotting food and other material is a thing of the past. Your neighbors will thank you.
- You can easily tip the finished product into your wheelbarrow and distribute it wherever you like. Some tumblers actually have wheels so you can transport the compost directly to your garden.
- Tumblers tend to be tougher than bins because they must be sturdy enough to support the weight of a load of compost. Most tumblers last for years.
Tumblers come in a large selection of types and sizes, including those for space-challenged gardeners who don’t need massive quantities of compost. For example, take a look at the handy little Back Porch ComposTumbler from Mantis. This compact tumbler holds up to four bushels of compost, just right for small yards or urban gardeners. Give it a good spin every couple of days and you may have compost ready to go as soon as four to six weeks. If you’re in the market for a full-size tumbler, Mantis offers everything from household-size tumblers to two-sided workhorses that generate two ten-bushel batches.
Composting needn’t be a chore when it comes to turning it. Let a compost tumbler do the work for you instead and reap the rewards in the form of nice, dark gardener’s “gold.”