Tag Archives: compost tumbler

Envirocycle mods…? Why not?

Notice anything different in this picture?

Yep, I drilled holes in the Envirocycle Original model. I asked about it a while ago, and their advice was not to drill holes, but I begged to differ. Then when the Mini version came out (the tan one), it had an awesome air vent on both sides of the drum. Ah-ha!

What’s wrong with more airflow? Beats me. Yes, it’s nice to keep the heat in and let things cook, but it can’t cook without gas (air). So there you have it, sink or swim. I just filled both drums with brand new materials, as I just cleaned out my refrigerator and found all kinds of old artifacts just begging to be composted…stuff that expired years ago! Whoops.

FAQ: Do I need more than one tumbler to make compost?

I’ve received a lot of emails asking me if I need two compost tumblers to make composting work. The answer:

No way.

I totally understand that the cost of a compost tumbler can be prohibitive for some, and I agree that they’re not cheap. It really depends on the situation to know what works best. In some instances, tumblers are perfect, in others they’re not practical at all. Factors such as space, aesthetics, and amount of material all weigh heavily.

If you do decide to go with a tumbler, you can always fill it 3/4s of the way, then all further waste for the next 12 weeks or so divide up into other composting efforts. For example, I put portions of my waste in my worm composting system, and the rest I bury in the ground next to the compost tumbler.

If you happen to glance over my videos, some of them show a second, smaller tumbler next to my usual one. Envirocycle liked my videos so much that they sent me that one as a thank you! Pretty awesome. I pretty much don’t have to bury material anymore since I can use the Mini as well. I have some really lush compost that I just pulled from it recently…I totally forgot about it and now it’s pretty nice.

Anyway, to reiterate, you do not need two compost tumblers at all…you can pull off one or none just as easily.

Envirocycle full of worms???

In the wintertime, I take my composting efforts indoors to pay attention to the worms.  We had yet another uncharacteristically warm day here (if just one more person says “omg i love global warming lol”…ugh ), so I checked out the composter…full of worms!

It had just rained, and the inside was a bit damp…so my guess is that the earthworms were just looking for warm, moist ground and they found it in there.  They also found a lot of stuff they probably weren’t used to, like a Sun Chips bag trying to degrade, and some paper packaging material that I lazily threw in without ripping it up, just for fun.

I seem to get a fair number of emails talking about worms in the composter…these worms are almost certainly just earthworms (sorry earthworms) and not red wigglers, or composting worms.

Another thing worth noting, is that red wigglers are not the best solution for adding to your compost tumbler.  If your compost is in the early stages of degradation and is quite warm, this may harm the worms.  They’re also kind of picky about airflow, and most likely won’t come in the tumbler to start with.  Lastly, they don’t want their habitat being flipped upside down all the time, and if you’re using the tumbler how it should be used, wigglers won’t stick around for long.

It doesn’t need to be fancy…

When I visited home for the holidays, I had to take a look and see what my mom’s old composting area looked like.  This really spun me out because I remember making this little frame out of cinder blocks a long time ago and it looked good.  What’s funny is that if you want to compost, you can make do with this just fine…just make space and add stuff to it in appropriate quantities.

Next to this was a nice looking compost bin…again, it does the trick.  You can add material nice and high and it stays fairly organized.  Note the slits near bottom which double as a spot to anchor it to the ground as well as provide some needed air circulation.  Way to go, mom!

To start composting, all you really need is a little space and a rough idea of what to do…that’s really it.  It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

The following day I got to go out into the wilderness and I found myself thinking about how much the animals would appreciate all the food scraps that people throw away, especially during the winter.  Who wouldn’t want to feed this guy?

Debunking the Myth About Composting Citrus Peels

All right, I’m going to keep this short and sweet for you.  I’ve been composting for a long time, and in general I’m not really into the whole scientific side of it.  I’d rather have a general idea and help spread that to the masses…too many details leads to analysis paralysis.

The composting process can be kept to a few simple rules:  3:1 carbon to nitrogen, no meat/dairy/oils, have fun.  Recently, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about whether or not citrus fruit belongs in your compost pile…yes!

I’m not sure how this urban legend really came to fruition, but it’s simply not something to worry about.  It seems the common belief is that it takes longer to decompose, which is technically true, but barely.  A chemical by the name of limonene needs to be chewed by particular bacteria, but as soon as that happens it’s like anything else.  In fact, citrus fruits will heat up your pile quite nicely.

A week ago, I received a gift in the form of a 5 gallon bucket of waste from a juicer.  As you can guess, my pile nearly doubled its temperature as a result of this fruity gift.  What it comes down to is that if you make any reasonable attempt at composting, you’re not going to have any issues with this.

My hunch is that the myth evolved from vermicomposting first, as citrus peels are not a worm’s favorite snack.  Nonetheless, even with worms you can feed them a limited amount of it.  Moral of the story, when it comes to citrus fruit waste, let it rip!

Looking to make composting a snap?  Check out my new e-book “Tyler’s Dirty Little Composting Secrets” by clicking here.