Category Archives: General

How to Use an Urban Compost Tumbler (article)

As more and more people decide to move away from a conventional compost heap and begin to use an urban compost tumbler it is important that they are used correctly. Knowing how to use the compost tumbler for maximum results will mean that you can produce compost in a matter of weeks.

Here is how to get the fastest results using a compost bin tumbler.

If you want to make compost in a few weeks then there are a few things you need to do to make it happen. Firstly you need to ensure that you only put very soft materials in the tumbler. Only add organic matter that will break down quickly. Don’t put hard stalks of cabbages or the like inside. Just use soft leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds and other materials that can be turned in to compost quickly.

Next you need to ensure that you only allow the contents to be moist. You do not want it to be really wet or totally dry. Limit the amount of water you add so that the contents are just a little moist. This will ensure that you can create the best environment possible for the compost to be made.

Finally ensure that you rotate the compost bin on a regular basis. Do it every few days and you will be amazed at the results that you can achieve. This is how the tumbler is designed and it is like this for a reason. If you follow these few tips you will make compost in a few weeks with the urban compost tumbler. -Dave Tee

Being that I spend so much time playing with waste, I love reading other people’s how-to articles on composting. Some of them are very informative and I might learn something new to try out, others not so much. I’m not saying I disagree with this whole article, but I think most of it is debatable…but what isn’t?

The opening sentence “as more and more people decide to move away from a conventional compost heap”… how do you know that? What event recently has actually changed the number of current composters from constructing a compost heap to getting a compost tumbler? I’m stumped. Yes, composting gadgets are my favorite toys, but I don’t ever expect there to be a “movement” where everyone is rushing out to replace their compost heap.

Then again, I’m hoping this country starts making composting compulsory and taking San Francisco’s lead. I don’t know if SF was first, but I have friends there that always remind me about how much they love their program. On the contrary, I met some Canadians that hated their city’s compost program. Haha, I love all this energy building up around dirt.

Also in this article, he mentions only putting “soft” items in the pile. Come on, dude. If you only put soft materials in the compost, when will you ever compost the “hard” stuff? Take your cabbage stalks and chop them up a little bit. Big deal.

I’m also a bit bothered by the claims of how fast you can make compost with your tumbler. With my new tumbler I just received to test out, I’ll run an experiment and we’ll see how long it takes. I guess it’s not fair for me to complain, it’s just that I don’t mind if it takes a while to earn the black gold. You’re composting…relax. Enjoy it. I feel a little bit cranky. More coffee.

Crazy Kitchen Compost Crock Critique

Norpro Compost Keeper Review

Okay, so it’s been a little over two days, and I’m starting to smell something if I get really close to the container.

Since I put up the review of the container, I’ve looked around for people’s feedback on the item. The main critique I see is that the lid should be more of a snug fit. This is great and all, but the holes in the top still allow air to circulate a bit. In fact, the crock is really really hot! The solution is to empty its contents once a week and you’ll be fine…if you can’t, you may become disappointed with this product.

Another idea I had, was to try putting electrical tape over the holes from the inside. A friend of mine has some purple electrical tape I can use, I think it’ll actually look pretty awesome…so I guess that’s what I’ll try next.

Since I don’t see any claims from the manufacturer about how well the charcoal filter should work, I’m going to assume that it shouldn’t be like this. So as I said in the video, a tight-sealing tupperware food container can do the trick, it just doesn’t look nice. I think I’m going to continue looking for a better container and see what I can find.

UPDATE: The container is still hot, and it’s not smelling anymore.  As I expected.  Or I suffer from hyposmia because I spend time with garbage and food waste every day.  No no, it’s really just fine.  Should I look into trying one of those Bokashi things?  They don’t really interest me for some reason.  I’ll see if they’ll send me one to play with.

What’s the secret to successful composting through the winter?

What’s the secret to successful composting through the winter? Building a worm bin, of course. Now don’t get afraid, just stay with me here. For some reason, people get scared by the thought of having worms in their kitchen. I promise it’s not bad, and you’ll learn to love it. New to worms? I’ll explain what you need to know so you can get started in no time.

Backyard composting is my favorite, I love to do it and spend time every day with my dirt. I’m not even much of a gardener, I just love the dirt. However, when winter arrives it can really slow down the composting process and I don’t really like going outside so much. The solution to this is creating your own worm bin.

Sure, you can buy a series of worm trays, which may cost you near $100 depending on how many trays you get, but I find that this design is a bit laborious to deal with. A much simpler method involves using a “shallow”, opaque tub with between 10 and 20 1/8″ holes drilled around the top. The worms need a good mix of moisture and oxygen to do their thing, and they don’t like light. Must be great to be a worm.

The main ingredient to worm bins is shredded paper and cardboard, this acts as their bedding. Like a compost pile, add your food scraps, but avoid the meat and dairy products. One exception is eggshells, which are high in calcium and promote worm reproduction. More worms equals more productivity, although I recommend starting small and let them reach their natural equilibrium.

Alternate layers of cardboard/paper and food scraps, ending with a layer of cardboard. Spray the bin down with water to get it moist, then let it sit for at least a week before adding any worms. You can order red wigglers online for between $20 and $40, or maybe you know someone that has some already. It reminds me of sharing tools with the neighbors, giving out kombucha babies, finished compost. If you don’t know anyone with them, then I guess you’ve volunteered as the starting point of giving out worms to future composters. Good for you.

Although I live in a tightly packed city, I’m lucky to have a backyard and be able to have an awesome compost tumbler. I realize it’s not as easy for others to do, so worm composting is definitely the way to go. It’s ideal for apartment dwellers to try out and see the results for themselves. You’ll nearly cut your garbage in half, and you’ll have some super-fertile compost to use in your garden, or give to someone else that does.

So there’s your project for this winter: Set up a worm bin, reap the benefits and try not to have too much fun with it. It’s addictive, and you can feel really good about it. Happy composting!

My review of the Norpro Compost Keeper…riveting.

Norpro Compost Keeper Review

Earlier this morning, my new kitchen compost crock showed up at my door.  I was so psyched to get this…I think a little too psyched for what seems like a glorified jar.

I’ve used a clear Tupperware container on my counter top for years, and I’ve had people get bummed on it because they can see the contents of it.  Personally, I like seeing the compost soup, but whatever.  So I thought it would be interesting to get a compost keeper to see if the charcoal filter was worth it or just really excessive.  I’ve decided to leave it full of scraps and see how long it takes before it starts smelling…I’ll keep you posted on it.

Anyway, this thing is way bigger than I thought it would be…and it even has a mirror finished top.  It’s definitely a “statement” for the kitchen, and I find it pretty funny that I have it.  Heck, I even feel kinda good.  Weird!  So yeah, this thing rules…I approve!

Setting Up a Basic Worm Composting Bin

Setting Up a Basic Worm Bin

This is a simple and informative video to get started on your own worm bin…I just found a container in the basement EXACTLY like the one in the video, it must be destiny to start a new bin! I’m definitely going to make a video series of my progress, so stay tuned for that.

Anyway, Bentley has an awesome site, I recommend you check it out…he has more info about worm composting than ANYONE else out there.

Peep it: http://www.redwormcomposting.com .

Naturemill Composter Problem (video)

Nature Mill Composter Problem

Now THIS is interesting. This woman has to be so bummed. I wonder how often this is happening…even if it’s a rarity, that would certainly sway plenty of people to spend $400 elsewhere. One other thing, why would she be asking Youtube to “please confirm”? Shouldn’t she be asking Naturemill? I hope that’s not hinting at their customer service…

My main question for Naturemill: Do you have a program to take back your machine when it’s considered waste…they have a decent warranty, it seems. It would be a nice touch if that was elaborated on. Could always use a dead kitchen composter for parts, right?

How to Compost at Home with a Composting Bin (video)

How to Compost at Home with a Composting Bin

Here’s a good video showing how to build a super-pro looking dual chamber compost bin. I’m guessing this would cost between $40 and $50 to make, but it sure looks nice! He doesn’t specify the size, but I’d recommend 4′ x 4′ x 4′.

If you want to do this for free, find a few pallets and tie them together with coat hangers. Not as nice looking, but you’ll get the same results though.

Send me your compost pictures!

As I was staring at a jug of tea leaf compost that was gifted to me from a nearby cafe, I was thinking to myself how gorgeous it looked.  What does your compost look like?  Send me a picture of your compost and I’ll post it on my page.  I’d like to create a photo gallery of compost from around the world… sound good?  Send me a JPEG and include your name, location, and a story about it to weaver [dot] tyler [at] gmail [dot] com.

Who knows, maybe I’ll send you a random gift as a thank you…

Happy composting!

Kitchen Composters, Compost Crocks, Or Compost Tumblers, What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a kitchen composter, compost crock and a compost tumbler?  Do I need all of these?  Are they all the same thing?  I’m going to describe what each of these things are and how to find what works best for you.

A compost crock is basically a container that you have in your kitchen to hold your food scraps until you get a chance to go out to the yard and empty it in your compost pile.  I’ve seen these made out of plastic, ceramic and stainless steel.  Since plastic tends to be somewhat flimsy and hold smells (especially compost), I recommend avoiding them.  Ceramic is nice looking, heavy and easy to clean, but it’s also easy to break.  Therefore, I tend to like stainless steel compost crocks.  I’ve had mine for quite some time, and many of them come with a charcoal filter to combat the smell although I’ve never had a problem with this.

Could you use a Tupperware container to do the job?  Absolutely.  However, if you can shell out a few bucks, the stainless steel crock will show its worth to you quickly.  Of the three items, having a compost crock is probably the most necessary.

Next up, the kitchen composter.  This is usually referring to a plastic bucket that sits in your kitchen and collects food scraps.  You add a rice bran blend to the bucket as it fills, and it breaks down the material surprisingly quickly.  I feel that this is the expensive way to go, as you need to buy refills of the rice bran and it isn’t all that cheap.

Most kitchen composters have a spout on them to collect “compost tea”, which is awesome.  Compost tea is like steroids for your plant, so it’s nice to have that bonus for using a kitchen composter.  They’re also good if you live in a cramped space and you don’t have the yard space for composting.

Finally, we have the compost tumbler.  There’s a lot of variations on composting in your yard, such as having a hole in the ground, a chicken wire fence with the material layered high, or a secure barrel of varying levels of quality.  When I first started composting, I had a trench in the ground and used a shovel to turn the pile…this got old pretty quickly.  Stray animals would mess around with the contents, so I needed to get a contained pile going.  Using a tumbler keeps the moisture straight, the animals out, and some even provide compost tea.

As you can see, all three items have different purposes, but using all three is not necessary.  I love composting, so I own a compost tumbler as well as a nice kitchen compost crock.  Whether you live in the city or the country, hot or cool climate, you can benefit from implementing any of these in your home.