Making compost using the hot compost method requires a large volume of material which needs to be available at one time. A compost turner or tumbler will allow you to continually process smaller volumes of material on a regular basis as the process happens much quicker, approximately 2 to 4 weeks. A compost tumbler will also take the effort out of turning your hot compost heap on a regular basis.
To make compost this way you will need;
- 3 to 4 square meters of spare space to store and process your compost ingredients
- 2 to 4 square meters of additonal space for your composted ingredients to mature
- a compost turner or compost tumbler
- a safe place to store or dispose of the leachate produced, see the manufacturers instructions
- compost starters may be required, see the manufacturers instructions.
- fully automated compost tumblers also need access to power.
Compost tumblers are either manual or fully automated. The compost is made in one of two ways
- either in a barrel attached to a winding mechanism, all on legs or a stand of some kind. The barrel is filled to a given level with your compostable ingredients in one batch. The tumbler is turned on a regular basis, usually once a day, until the compost has been processed.
- Or in a corkscrew mechanism. The ingredients feed through a corkscrew which has an entry hopper at one end and an exit chute at the other. These ingrediants gradually pass through a corkscrew mechanism, processing as they pass through the machine.
The constant turning brings additional air to the mix speeding up the hot composting process. The mix is turned inside a sealed compartment and the leachate, which is produced naturally as part of the compost process, must be tapped off regularly and either disposed of safely or stored and used. Care must be taken in the disposal of leachate, local authority guidance should be sought if you are likely to produce large volumes.
Compost made in a compost tumbler will require a maturation period to improve it., It may be necessary to have cold compost bins or number of New Zealand bays for this purpose.
If you have any other questions about using a compost turner or compost tumbler please ask me.