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Garden Compost Tumbler

There really isn't a lot to write about during the winter. It's about 25 degrees tonight and once again it's snowing. And this storm could drop another six inches on us. [Update: The storm was a dud, just a lot of ice] So as you can imagine, there's not a lot of gardening or composting going on here.

So what's a garden blogger to do? I'll tell you what I did. I sat at my computer and looked at all the photos that I took this year and tried to find some pictures that I never posted about. An iPhoto slide show with about 5,000 photos might sound like fun to you but trust me, after an hour or so, it's gets pretty boring. Let's see, compost picture, compost picture, here's one of my kids in front of the compost bin, another compost picture, oh here's a picture of compost. You get the idea.

Watching the pictures slide by, it occurred to me that I never created a post about how I built my homemade compost tumbler. I did make a compost tumbler video about how I kick it around my yard but I never explained how it was made

How To Make A Garden Compost Tumbler
First thing you'll need is a garbage can with a lid. Next you'll need a hole saw. A hole saw bit isn't expensive, they're probably about five bucks. Connect it to your drill and make a bunch of holes in the garbage can. You can also put one or two holes in the lid. This way when it rains some water will get in there. You also want to put one near the bottom of the can or even on the bottom if you want. This is be used for drainage for that rain.

Next you'll need some screen material. They sell fiberglass screen at home improvement stores so that people can batch up their window screens. You can also patch up your garbage cans with them too. Cut some squares that are few inches larger than the holes.

Glue the window screen squares over the holes. If you're a crafter, then I'm sure you have a Glue Gun. If not, then super glue would probably work too. I glued the screen to the holes from the inside of the can to keep the tumbler neat looking but you can also glue them from the outside.

The lid is held in place with bungee cords. And as you can see in the video below, these homemade garden compost tumblers are very easy to turn. No cranking here.


  1. Mr.Dirty Boots said...
    That's a really interesting idea. I had never heard of it before.
    Anthony said...
    Thanks Mr. Boots
    Liz & Ryan said...
    I'm new to composting and am uncertain how you get the good stuff out while the scraps are still inside?

    I'd like to try this garbage can method (it looks pretty simple and cheaper than the manufactured drums) but I just don't get what your final steps are after the matter has decomposed.

    Is it difficult to separate the good compost from the scraps?
    Anthony said...
    Liz & Ryan,
    The garbage can method is easy, definitely give it a try. The trick is to fill up the can and then stop adding to it. Then you won't have to worry about any unfinished compost when you're ready to use it.
    Carolyn said...
    Seems to me that the simplest solution is to make 2 -- one that you are currently filling and one or two extra for the "matured" compost (won't stay full for long!)

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