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At long last: An affordable compost tumbler
on March 29, 2010
I have desired a compost tumbler ever since I first heard of the idea. It seemed like the perfect solution to all my composting woes. Over the course of 25 years, I have periodically checked in on the market. Each time I was dismayed at the ridiculously high prices. Each time I resolved to make my own compost tumbler...an ambition that ultimately went nowhere. So when my wife and I walked into Costco and saw the Lifetime 60021 for $99, I was ecstatic!
Assembly was pretty darn simple, although my 15-year-old daughter had to help briefly with two of the steps. I already owned an electric drill and an assortment of Philips head bits, so the assembly was quick, painless, and fun. In fact I loved the way the thing was designed and how well it went together.
Not following any one set of directions, I mowed up bunches of dry leaves, dead weeds, musty piles of grass, wood chips, and kitchen scraps with my rotary lawnmower, and dumped the contents of the catcher into the composter. It had enough room for many such loads. Then I added, ultimately, 12 gallons of water along with 1/2 cup urea.
The freezing temps at night have been no deterrent to microbial action. Every morning when I open the lid to monitor the progress, clouds of vapor rise off the warm mass. I'm extremely pleased with several things: 1) how easy it is to mix the contents, 2) how much material it can hold, 3) how well it retains moisture, 4) how well it provides oxygen to support aerobic decomposition, 5) how sturdy it is, and 6) how much value I got for my money. We will certainly buy a second tumbler, and perhaps a third. (The back yard is large and home to more than 60 trees.)