My new compostumbler is getting full. The other day I looked in. It was more than 3/4 full. It has been very wet looking so I didn’t think my mix of greens and browns was correct. So I have been adding shredded leaves as the brown material. The leaves are a good addition, mixing in nicely, absorbing some of the wetness. I can feel how much is in there when I rotate it. It feels heavy and I can hear the kerplunk as the material goes around. Even though there is so much in there and it is heavy, the gearing system makes it easy to turn.
I wanted to take a picture of it being so full. So I went out a few days later with my camera in hand and now it looks to be over 1/2 full. The compost is shrinking! I was surprised that the compost had compressed so quickly. It must be working well. That is just the nature of compost. Your pile can be very large and as the compost critters start to work, the pile gets smaller. It is the same in the worm bin. I start off with a worm bin full of moistened newspaper and after a week the pile goes down a little as the worms work the scraps and the newspaper.
When I saw that the compost had shrunk, I thought I would keep adding kitchen scraps to build it up. After thinking about it, I decided that I would like to see a finished product. If I keep adding kitchen scraps then it will prolong the process because all the new food scraps will need to be composted. So I am stopping and letting the process complete itself so I can see the finished compost. I will just add the food scraps to another bin for awhile. I am very excited to see the finished product.
Read more about what kind of compost bin to buy at Compact Compost Tumbler. The picture above is a Compact Compostumbler.
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Composting bins can be made in all different shapes and sizes. This video does a review of 10 different composting bins and tumblers. They find that the bins reach the highest temperatures–about 140 to 160 degrees. The compost tumblers reach about 130 to 140 degrees. The hotter the better for making compost.
There are some drawbacks to the composting bins:
It is much easier for animal visitors to get into the compost if you are using food scraps.
In order for the composting to be quick you need to turn the pile.
It is hard, physical labor to turn the pile.
It is time-consuming to turn the pile.
They talk about air circulation which is a real plus for composting and some of the bins have a lot of holes for great air circulation. (Though these holes can be a problem if you have animal visitors because it is easy to get into the pile.) There was a complaint that the compost tumblers didn’t have so much air circulation because of a lack of air holes. I disagree because a lot of air circulation happens in the tumbling which is one thing that helps tumblers create compost faster.
Lastly they show a compost tumbler which didn’t have a proper mix of greens and browns. I was very interested in this because I did the same thing with my compost tumbler. See this post Greens and Browns in Composting. I quickly corrected the problem with the addition of browns or carbon to my compost. In my case I used peat moss. It was in the middle of the summer and I didn’t have shredded leaves around. This is indicative that composting with tumblers is not perfect and you can mis-manage them just like you can mis-manage any compost pile.
Here is the video of the review of compost bins ( http://youtu.be/-lCVcv04K5Y):
Welcome to the gardening, composting and worm composting blog! Composting autumn leaves creates great fertilizer for the garden. I have been gardening for about 30 years and I have a lot of interesting experiences to share. I always try to do everything organically. And I like to do things the simplest and easy way. You might call me a lazy gardener.
We have this beautiful maple tree in front of our house that turns to a gorgeous red, yellow and orange in the fall. We raked for the first time on Friday and filled 2 black bags with leaves and then on Monday the ground was completely covered again with an orange yellow blanket.
Leaves are the quintessential “brown” for a compost pile. They are so plentiful and free. Every year I save bags and bags of leaves for mulch and compost. First I wanted to use them for mulch in my vegetable garden. But that never worked out so well. If you have dry leaves in a black plastic bag, a year later you will still have dry leaves in a black plastic bag. The bag might be deteriorating but the leaves look the same as when you put them in last year.
So I decided that they needed to be wet so they could decompose. I also added dirt to introduce worms and other living decomposing organisms to hasten the process. This didn’t exactly work out either. The next year I would have a matted mess of wet leaves, maybe somewhat breaking down but only minimally.
This year we purchased a compost bin that turns. So we used our leaves in there along with all our kitchen scraps. A great combination of greens and browns. The instructions said that the leaves should be shredded but that was a little too much for me so I crumpled them in my hands before I put them in. Needless to say that did not do a great job of shredding the leaves!! Well our compost was quite wet and we needed more browns so maybe I had to admit they did need to be shredded.
The exciting thing about this autumn is that we purchased a leaf blower/vacuum that mulches at the same time. It is amazing how it shreds the leaves, down into beautiful “compostable” little particles. And amazingly enough you can fit several bags into one. We use this 30-Gallon Collapsible Gardening Container that really helps filling the black plastic bags. It folds up to store easily. The literature for the leaf vacuum says 12 bags into 1 but we didn’t get those results!! So we are raking into piles, vacuuming and shredding and having an amazing time creating the “browns” for our compost and cleaning up our yard.
Recently I purchased the compost bin below for leaf and weed composting. It is very inexpensive and works great at fast composting. To learn more click on the picture below.