How to Start a Compost Tumbler

how to start a compost tumbler

If you’re considering starting a compost tumbler, you might be wondering how to get started. There are several steps to composting, including shredding material, adding activater, adding moisture, and timing. In this article, we’ll discuss each one to make the process easier. Here are some tips to follow:

Shredding material

A compost tumbler works by allowing you to pile up different types of organic material. Some of the green material you can pile up is from the kitchen, such as peelings, cut-off ends, and leafy parts. Other green materials that you can pile up include grass clippings. To make compost tumbler work, you need to sprinkle the clippings around the inside chamber to prevent them from clumping together. Other items that are great for a compost tumbler include coffee grounds and used tea leaves. These are safe to add to the pile, as tea leaves aren’t toxic to composters.

Green materials, like vegetable waste, can be shredded as well. You can also use a garden shredder to shave down the leaves, grass clippings, and other yard waste into small pieces. The WORX leaf shredder, for example, can handle a large amount of leaves at once. A chipper shredder, on the other hand, will shave down yard waste into pieces as small as one-sixteenth of its original size. Besides slicing, you can also choose a compost tumbler with drainage holes and spikes on the inside to keep the compost from clumping and to break up.

Adding activator

If you’ve never made a compost tumbler before, you’re missing out on the most important step of the process: activation. New compost tumblers are completely devoid of the bacteria and living decomposers that nature needs to break down organic waste. To boost the process, you can add compost activator, horse manure, or a healthy layer of soil. A compost tumbler can only break down materials as quickly as it can be filled with fresh material.

To speed up the decomposition process and improve the quality of finished compost, adding a few teaspoons of an activator to a pile is essential. Many common materials can act as compost tumbler activators, including grass clippings, young weeds, and well-rotted chicken manure. You can also purchase an inoculant at your local garden center. Another option is to add a shovelful of finished compost.


When you are starting your compost, you probably don’t have a great deal of information about how to start a compost tumbler with moisture. In this article, I’ll show you how to add moisture to your compost without destroying the natural decomposers. You can also learn about adding compost activator to your compost tumbler. It is important to add moisture slowly, and you can add a few cups at a time.

In addition to moist materials, it’s also important to avoid adding too many wet kitchen scraps to your tumbler. Too much food will turn your compost into a slimy mess. While it’s fine to mix some dry and some food waste, you need to have a proper balance of food scraps with dry materials to prevent over-watering. The carbon-to-nitrogen ratio should be around 25. You’ll need to monitor the moisture level regularly to prevent over-wet compost. When you notice it’s too moist, stop adding more materials.

The time it takes to make compost in a tumbler

A compost tumbler can produce finished compost in four to six weeks, depending on the amount of organic material and the temperature and moisture of the air. Although composting is not as quick as hot composting, this method is less complicated and requires less maintenance. There are several factors to consider when composting, including the size and type of organic material, the moisture content, and the frequency of turning the pile. Composter tumblers are not as efficient as hot composting, but they can produce high-quality compost much faster than traditional methods.

In a sealed compost tumbler, finished compost can be made in three weeks. The speed of composting depends on the outdoor temperature, the season, and the appropriate ratio of nitrogen and carbon matter. Composting takes longer in colder climates. Tumblers are designed for urban residential properties and are generally elevated off the ground. During warmer months, the compost can be used for mulching.

Observing the color and consistency of compost

Observing the color and consistency of compost in a compost tumbler can help you determine if the mixture is ready. The most common green components are kitchen scraps, like peelings and cut-off ends of fruits and vegetables. The more nutritious parts of these scraps are best to discard. Grass clippings are also good for the compost tumbler, but they need to be mixed evenly throughout the chamber to avoid clumping. Adding coffee grounds and tea leaves is also a safe option.

When your compost is ready, the compost will be dark brown and similar to soil. Besides being a great solution for composting, these tumblers are also attractive solutions for pest control. You can use compost tumblers to mix different ingredients, including garden waste, kitchen scraps, and yard clippings.

How To Use A Compost Tumbler

Finishing up

Composting is a real passion of ours and we have loads of great info on it. Be sure to check out the knowledge base for more related articles on this subject.

Hopefully starting a compost tumbler is a little less daunting now you are armed with a bit more detailed info..

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