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How You Can Choose The Right Home Compost Tumbler Bin to Make Your Own Organic Compost

Updated on May 9, 2015

How to Choose The Right Compost Tumbler Bin

Why buy expensive Organic Compost when you can make your own? I'm going to share some priceless knowledge gained via years of mistakes. Ten years of mistakes to be exact. Mistakes that will show you how you can choose the right home compost tumbler bin to make your own Organic compost.

If you garden, have trees dumping leaves, or a lawn to mow, have wet kitchen waste? Then you are a prime candidate for composting and there is an easy way to recycle all of the above. A method to easily create rich, organic compost without the expense. A tumbler compost bin will reduce the costs of fertilizer's as well as yard waste.

How about recycling up to 40% of common kitchen waste? Waste that can be turned into rich, usable, organic garden compost in a matter of weeks. Doing this will mean using less water to run your garbage disposal too. Recycling is not only good for the planet but for you as well.

After all, who doesn't want to save some money? The information contained herein was gleaned from a ten year search and is intended strictly as a guide.

I started composting in 1970 by taking my food scraps out behind where I lived and burying them in a hole next to the railroad tracks - and green things started to grow there!

Ed Begley, Jr.

Tumbler Bins - Wizard makes it easy when choosing the right compost bin

FREE Shipping right to your door and NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED, what could be better?

Envirolet Premix Starter Mix Kit
Envirolet Premix Starter Mix Kit

I know there is no image available, but trust me when I say the Envirolet Premix Starter Kit for your compost bin is the quick--and complete--starter kit. The reason for a starter mix is the same as sourdough bread making. You need a good starter for it to ferment and do it's work. Same thing here.

Evaluation: Follow the instruction on how much to empty into your bin before you start and that's all you do except add your waste and rotate the bin occasionally. Keep a bag or two of this stuff around.

 

Things You WANT to Compost

If you want to know how you can choose the right home compost tumbler bin to make your own Organic compost, learn to use your own waste products.

Kitchen waste, especially coffee grounds, egg shells and fruits and veggies scraps of any kind (bananas, tomatoes, etc) or leftovers. (defined as Green waste) Your yard waste such as leaves and grass clippings, to include any dead plants and any trimmings from your garden, even sawdust. (defined as brown waste).I will explain the importance of that later.

Things you DO NOT want to compost:

No meats or grease of any kind for obvious reasons. No raw meats or animal fat of any kind, as they will attract visitors to your composting that you do not want. Nor, do you want to use any dairy products. An example might be: No cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc

What is Brown Waste?

Now, the final factor for good composting using a tumbler bin. Remember when I said I would talk about the proper ratio of Brown to Green waste? First, brown waste is the carbon based materials needed, such as grass clippings, dry leaves, etc.In fact, the more dry leaves you use? The better and faster the composting. If you have big chunks remaining in your bin, use more brown waste to decomp quicker

What is Green Waste?

Green waste is nitrogen, such as plant clippings, hedge trimmings and the like, as well as food waste. Any waste product containing nitrogen (the opposite of the carbon based) for composting. As I described above, coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit pits, corn cobs, shellfish shells, (crawfish, crab, lobster, etc) moldy bread veggies of any kind, etc

Now, for the ratio of Brown to Green Waste:

After reading the above, it's pretty simple really. Just keep a (2 to 1) ratio of brown to green.waste in order to make the process optimum. The grass clippings are necessary to provide the moisture to break down the ingredients efficiently. The bin should be in a sunny area (for the heat) and must be turned periodically. The reason to turn the bin, is to continually move the HOT center around inside where the heat builds up. Thus causing the breakdown to occur. Composting is inexpensive, efficient and most of all? Good for the earth.

My First Attempt At Choosing a Compost Bin

A homemade wooden enclosure

Although Ed Begley Jr's idea of composting may not have been the best, Neither were some of mine and I will share them,

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to build, buy and use a number of compost bins, tumblers and storage units. All of them had the right idea. Turn kitchen waste and yard debris into usable compost.

That's where design ideas and reality began to separate in both quality and usability. Choosing the right compost bin should have been easy. As I explain, some were made from poor materials, some were not. Some did the job, some did not. I'm going to list the one's I tried, one at a time, you decide

My First Compost Bin choice

The least expensive (at the time) in my search, was the square compost bin made from wood slats. I thought it was great idea, as it conveniently sat in the corner of my yard. Now that was a great idea, since it was out of the way and didn't hinder any yard use. As you can see from the picture above, the slats provided plenty of air in between to aid in the composting process and I was able to buy the materials and construct it myself.

The down side of this choice:

It's open air construction allowed the odors to escape and when the wind was right, whew! Not to mention any and all manner of critters that found it's contents enticing and found ready access through those open slats. But if the critter's and odors escaping weren't enough? The biggest drawback was when there was more than about a foot of waste products inside of the bin? it became extremely difficult to turn the items over to aid in the composting process. Not to mention the accidental splitting of the side boards with my garden fork as I attempted to 'turn' the compost. It lasted one season and was scrapped.

Failure #1.

A good compost pile should get hot enough to poach an egg, but not so hot it would cook a lobster--Anonymous

Choosing The Right Compost Bin Was at a Crossroads

What to do, what to do

My Compost Bin Choice # 2:

This compost bin was closer to the ground and had better parts. A laundry style hamper with holes drilled in the sides, supported on a couple of two by fours. It was small and convenient to use, didn't rust and did the trick. Again, it could sit out of the way in the yard. The problem was, it just wasn't what I wanted on this my second stop in choosing the right compost bin.

Downside:

Our two rambunctious black labs were constantly tipping it over in their zeal to chase one another through the yard and the kids were forever taking the lid off to look inside to see if anything was happening and then not replacing the lid. The lid was then promptly adopted as a toy by the young Black Labs who took enormous delight in chasing one another through the yard playing keep away while chewing the lid into an unrecognizable form. It was apparent that I had to find something better.

Failure #2

Supported Compost Bins

Easy to use, didn't last

My Compost Bin Choice # 3:

I use an "Image" that you can see there to the left. (of my continuing search) of choosing the right compost bin, I was failing. This is an example of the next compost bin that I purchased. I won't give the name, as I do not want to embarrass the manufacturer. Suffice it to say, it was very much like you see here, a fifty five gallon drum mounted on an aluminum tripod style base with an easy crank handle. It looked as if I had found the one. The ultimate in composting.

Downside:

The door to access the bin, had two simple latches that were forever coming unlatched, so we took to ensuring that after turning the bin, we always kept the door 'up.' and even though turning the bin in order to spin the compost only required three to four revolutions of the drum for that process? It also required a second person to make sure the door did not un-latch while the drum was being turned. I fixed that by drilling new holes and making my own latch locks.

After two years of use and being outside in the weather, I noticed that the aluminum leg supports were beginning to corrode away.. Before they broke, I made a wooden 'A' frame support for each end to replace the corroding ones. This way, the drum was still supported and I could still spin it. The next problem was that the drum itself rusted out the very next year from three years of exposure. Choosing the right composting bin was not turning out like I had anticipated.

Failure #3

The Wizard Lineup

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Composting Ideas Continue

But I still was not succeeding

My Compost Bin Choice # 4:

I do not recall the manufacturer of this bin, but I was impressed. Certainly not with it's sales price (which at the time? Was over $300.00) but this model was advertised with plastic drive gears on the ends, to enable it to be spun easily and it did spin easily. The plastic ends and drive gears were a vast improvement over the 55 gallon drum unit. The door even stayed locked as well since it had large swivel locks. It seemed as if I had finally found what I was looking for. A compost bin to make plenty of compost several times a year.

Downside:

Same as the one listed above, the legs corroded out after a couple of years, so I brought my old 'A' frame supports out of storage, that I had used for the previous compost bin. The 'A' frame supports (made from two by fours, screwed together.) and they supported the bin quite adequately. My 'A' frame seemed to be the game saver for roughly another two years until I came home from work one day to find the bin had split open on one end and collapsed on the ground, spilling compost everywhere. It had rusted out where the plastic ends joined the metal drum. The gears were in great shape, but the drum was shot.

You know you decide maybe your great idea just wasn't so great after all? It was at this point, that I gave up in my pursuit of actually choosing the right compost bin.

Failure #4

Gorilla Carts GOR200B Poly Garden Dump Cart with Steel Frame and 10-Inch Pneumatic Tires, 600-Pound Capacity, 36-Inch by 20-Inch Bed, Black Finish
Gorilla Carts GOR200B Poly Garden Dump Cart with Steel Frame and 10-Inch Pneumatic Tires, 600-Pound Capacity, 36-Inch by 20-Inch Bed, Black Finish

Bar none, My Gorilla Carts is the best dump carts out there for gardening or whatever other yard work you can throw at it. This particular model can haul over 500 lbs, safely.

Evaluation: What to do? If you remember when you were a kid, how easy it was to pull a wagon around? Same principal here but this one has big old safe tires for stability.

 
Truper 30293 Tru Tough Spading Fork, 4-Tine, D-Handle, 30-Inch
Truper 30293 Tru Tough Spading Fork, 4-Tine, D-Handle, 30-Inch

The Trouper Compact Spade is a keeper. With it's 30" length and 'D' shaped handle, it is a cinch to use and the four tines make it a must have for and all back yard (and front yard) gardening and spading.

Evaluation: I've had mine for years and use it for a myriad of things. Get one yourself and see that I'm right.

 

However small your garden, you must provide for two of the serious gardener's necessities, a tool shed and a compost heap--Anne Scott-James

Compost Bin # 5 Came About Accidentally

In reading along so far, you are probably wondering why, after nearly ten years of failing to find a way to compost? Why was I still trying to? Well, the plain fact is, I wasn't.

In my many year's long pursuit, I had spent far more money buying and attempting to maintain the bins than I EVER saved on buying compost. I was yet to learn how to choose the right home compost tumbler bin to make my own Organic compost.

A chance encounter:

I was at the local garden center one Saturday morning, buying some chicken feed when the clerk struck up a conversation about compost bins. He said that he had a flyer on a new compost bin that was on the market. He had known me for years and thought that I might be interested in reading the flyer. That's when I came upon the Good Ideas Wizard Junior Compost bin, completely by accident.

Ordering:

I took his flyer home and read all about the bin. Every aggravation and failure that I had experienced appeared to have been eliminated by the Wizard company. No more supports to corrode and break, no more lousy locking latches to spring open, no more metal drum to rust out. The Wizard Jr. was low to the ground. That translates into not having to shovel the finished compost into a wheelbarrow to cart where I wanted it, I just rolled the drum to where I wanted the compost. Plus...it was less than one third as expensive as the last one I had bought. So, the following Saturday, I ordered that bin.

The Compost Bin arrives:

When it was dropped off finally, it came in a big box. I opened that box wondering what all I had to assemble. After all, you can never order anything in the mail and not have to put it together, right? Wrong. There was nothing to assemble, just take it out of the box and put it where I wanted in the yard, that was it. That was back in 2010.

A month or so later:

I was back at the feed store ordering more chicken feed and pellets for my pellet stove when I ran into the same clerk. I told him how much I liked the bin and thanked him. He was so startled, he asked if he could stop by and see it. He came over to my house after he closed, looked at the unit, looked at my first batch of compost (which took just over three weeks) and was so impressed, he called the company, ordered a dozen and now carries them in his store.

Years later, the Afterword:

I've had the bin now for 4 years now with no problems or complaints whatsoever. When I am ready to empty it, I just tip it off of the wheeled base and roll it across the yard to my vegetable garden or my flower bed, depending upon which one I need it for. No double transfer, from bin to wheelbarrow to garden. Just straight from the bin to the garden. No fuss, no hassle, easy to use. Best of all? I can make quantities in a short time and it is organic

The straight skinny:

Since it's made of black polyethylene, it speeds absorption of the sun's heat necessary to break down stuff and turn it into compost. It sits low to the ground, so there is no reaching up to put items into it nor fear of wind tipping it over. Finally, since it sits on a wheeled base, turning it is simple as pie. My journey in choosing the right compost bin was finally at a happy end. The tumbler came with a one year warranty where some of the others only had a 90 day warranty (and for good reason in some of the cases) but it has not failed me since I bought it and continues to work extremely well.

Now, you know how you can choose the right home compost tumbler bin to make your own Organic compost at home and save money doing it..

I wish to thank you for reading today, stay safe and I'll see you on the trail--CampingmanNW

Fiskars 3 Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set (7067)
Fiskars 3 Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set (7067)

The Fiskars Three Piece trowel set gives you everything you need for hands on gardening. In case you don't have a trowel, you need tyo buy this set and have ALL THREE of the most commonly used items available.

Evaluation: You know you need these, and Fiskars is the best. Buy a set.

 

Compost Bin Accessory Corner - Pick and choose your needs

We all need these things for gardening and yard work. Buy what you need and get busy composting your kitchen and yard waste. A CampingmanNW Tip: Remember When ordering thru Amazon, consolidate your orders to total $35.00 to obtain the free shipping. After all, it's not about being cheap, it's about shopping smart.

Fiskars Ergo Trowel Garden Tool
Fiskars Ergo Trowel Garden Tool

If you don't have need for a full set, here is a single trowel. But, Fiskars trowels are not just any trowels I've used mine for years and it's still top notch. There are many on the market and I think I have tried them all.

Evaluation: NOTHING beats a metal trowel for durability and use. Buy this one and it will last you for many years.

 
Fiskars 3 Claw Garden Weeder
Fiskars 3 Claw Garden Weeder

Fiskars 3 claw garden weeder is the easy way to dig weeds. NO bending over. Just use your foot to push the tip into the ground near the weed, tilt and viola', there is your weed....gone but trapped in the handle.

Evaluation: There are no words to really describe the simplicity and ease of using this except to say: you won't be disappointed.

 

Do you have any composting comments? - Feel free to drop a note even if you don't have a compost bin

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    • CampingmanNW profile image
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      CampingmanNW 3 years ago

      @sheriangell: Yes it should. Congrats for being pro active in a hurry up world

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 3 years ago

      Great tips on composting! I have a DIY worm farm that "cultivates" my compost. It's very basic, but does the trick for me!