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Homemade Compost Tumbler

Amy HillIt is a truth universally acknowledged that a gardener can never have enough compost. 


In the past, I have generated my compost in homemade bins made of 2x lumber and window screening, chicken wire, or whatever materials I had to hand. Those enclosures work well enough, but of course, compost does take time. 


I have always eyed those compost tumblers in gardening supply catalogues and wondered if they work as well as they allege. When I happened across a design for a homemade compost tumbler, from the blog Potholes and Pantyhose, I recognized a golden opportunity.


It was an especially fortuitous discovery because I happened to have most of the materials on hand. 


Some years ago I obtained four pickle barrels with the intention of creating four rain barrels. I successfully made three. The fourth barrel had a lid that refused to come off. It sat behind our shed until now, waiting for its opportunity to serve. I also had lumber and most of the necessary hardware, including a discarded metal closet rod that would serve beautifully as the tumbler axis.

homemade compost tumbler

The instructions at Potholes and Pantyhose are straightforward enough.  I found that the window latch hardware was insufficient to hold the lid closed, though, so I used a T-hasp closure instead.

Home Depot T-hasp

Hasp photo via Home Depot

I've placed the tumbler next to my regular compost pile. Every time I go out to the pile, I give the tumbler a few spins. So far, it's working brilliantly. 


10/26/2013 11:55:00 AM

Amy, tumblers are the best, aren't they. When I started blogging about my journey into big gardening, things that my city dwelling friends thought would be awesome and grew tired of after a couple years started being sent my way. One was a composter of the large size. I can compost at least 1/4 of a cubic yard at a time. It was really a great gift for sure. Sadly, I didn't use it much last year but plan on keeping the production in full use next year. There's just something about giving the compost barrel a spin and picking a ripened tomato first thing in the morning, don't you think? ***** Have a great composting day.