Making a Compost Tumbler

Anyone have building plans for a Compost Tumbler they would like to share?

Hardiness Zone: 7b

George from Roanoke, VA

March 10, 20070 found this helpful

Good question George I can't help you but I would like to know aswell as i'm currently using an old tumbler from the inside of an old washing machine and I would like to get it up of the ground.

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March 11, 20070 found this helpful

You know, I don't believe they make them large enough to make enough compost for a season's needs. Why couldn't someone just buy a large 50 gallon heavier plastic barrel and then construct a

wide mouthed door full of holes, that seals well and won't come open when the barrel is rolled on the ground?

It certainly would make it easier to maneuver for

mowing, right? And yet, it's not that simple. The

inside has to have a turning blade, sort of like an

old fashioned ice cream maker. It turns separately

so that it gets evenly mixed. If I put my thinking

cap on and had a little extra money I'd figure it out.

However, the four various bins I'm using now seem

to be working. One is a 3'x3' black plastic thick walled bin with doors on two bottom sidewalls and a removeable top for the whole thing. It is the best.

The others are wire bins, not making compost yet, and another is a large old A/C compressor housing, which is limited because there are too many large openings. I'm happiest with the black plastic one but the one corner that was bolted with plastic bolts has split open and in need of new holes and better


The secret to any decent compost is the layering

of proper ingredients, proper moisture on each

layer, two shovelsful of soil on every third/fourth

layer, and turning only about every month, keeping

medium sun heat on it's surface, with good aeration.

Leaves, tiny twigs, seedless/weedless grass clippings,

kitchen waste other than dairy/grease/wax, and

repeating the layers, watering lightly between each

chopped ingredient. My neighbor has been adding

branches, heavy Magnolia whole leaves, all food

scraps including bones, and wonders why it hasn't

turned to compost in three years. He never waters

it, nor adds soil, so it's just sitting there like a junk


Jerry Baker has some good tonics for free on the Internet, I understand. I have his book, and have

tried to use some of his things, winding up just being

basic and using wisdom/common sense, never

adding diseases, seeds, weeds, or animal waste.

It turned out great in one year's effort from just me

and my small contributions each day.

My wire bins are too new to see how long it takes, but at least I'm trying and haven't given up with all the leaves I've got to contribute, OR wet them down

and place in a black plastic bag in a sunny place for a season.

Good luck and God bless and help you. : )

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July 17, 20070 found this helpful

I just came across a pretty simple plan that I thought I should share. Please note that this is just a basic tumbler, and lacks the mixing blades as mentioned earlier. Personally, I think some light weight angle iron could be bolted in a few locations inside to create these blades.

I have been doing a lot of research on building tumblers, and this is probably the easiest, though surely not the best. I think one that is off the ground on a stand with a crank handle would be the best for all purposes. I do believe though that this idea can be adapted to go onto a stand, and a simple roller system could be added to create the crank.

Also note that the size of this is huge, and probably much bigger than a typical home owner would utilize. Anything 24 inches in diameter and maybe 24 inches long should provide a great easy to use tumbler for anyone to turn.

I too have a bin that is in it's first year, and to be honest, turning it every so often is a back breaking experience that I am looking to get away from as age sets in the chores need to become easier.

Remember too that you need to keep a good carbon:nitrogen ratio going or you will not produce a good compost, but rather a rotting pile. 1/2 leaves & 1/2 kitchen garden waste seems to work the best. If you are going to introduce the red wigglers to your compost, you should provide newspaper as well, to give them more cover from the sun. I have included some pictures of my garden at if anyone would like to check it out. This is made of 100% compost from a previous pile I had. They are under the Chatty Kathy and Friends section.

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June 17, 20080 found this helpful

This is how I did mine! It was really easy and quick.

http://intheweedswithguthrie.blogsp ... /2008/06/making-compost-tumbler.html

Cost: <$20

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