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Making Your Own Compost Tumbler at Home

If you own a yard or garden and grow flowers or crops, you will undoubtedly know the importance of compost to provide much-needed nutrients to them, to enable them to flourish and offer you a year-long bounty. If you depend on purchasing compost, you will also know that the costs can sometimes outweigh the profits, especially if you tend to gardening as just a hobby.

There are certain rules to keep in mind when dealing with home-made compost. Firstly, you will have to separate the carbon and nitrogen waste. To give you an idea of which is which, we have devised some pointers to common waste and which category they fall under:


  • Fruit and vegetable scraps, together with most other table scraps
  • Grass and garden weeds
  • Flower cuttings and green leaves
  • Seaweed
  • Chicken manure
  • Ground coffee and tea leaves


  • Other leaves (not green)
  • Straw or hay
  • Wood ash
  • Newspaper
  • Shredded paper and cardboard
  • Sawdust and wood chippings


  • Egg shells

As you can see, most of the waste originating from your garden and kitchen would act as nutrient-rich compost. But, the question remains – how do you convert all of the above into fresh and manageable compost?

Building Your Own Compost Tumbler

The benefits of building and owning your own compost tumblers are twofold. Firstly, you would not need to buy weekly or monthly supplies of compost, which may or may not be added with fertilisers or other chemicals. Secondly, you would need to handle the bags of compost when purchasing, unloading and then storing it in your garden shed.

The essential components of compost tumblers are rather basic and should incorporate the following:

  • 13 gallon garbage can with cover
  • 2 gallon garbage can without cover
  • 1 brick
  • Electric drill with 1/2-inch diameter drill bit
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Shovel
  • Old blanket

Here are the steps to put them all together:

  1. Drill six holes at the bottom of the 2 gallon garbage can and 24 holes around it, using a 1/2-inch diameter drill bit. It is not important where the 24 holes are positioned, as long as they are spaced at least 2-3 inches apart. These holes allow for easy drainage and also allow air to seep in, accelerating the decomposition.
  2. Place the brick in the 13 gallon garbage can so that its length lies in the centre of the can. Empty the soil collected in the 5 gallon bucket into the can, until the soil reaches the height of the brick inside the can.
  3. Position the 2 gallon garbage can into the 13 gallon one by settling it on the brick. Close the cover of the larger of the 2 cans.
  4. When the compost is ready to be inserted inside the larger can, open the cover and empty the waste into the smaller container. This process can be suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
  5. Once waste is added close the lid and wrap the old blanket around the 13 gallon can to keep it warm.

Steps on Adding Waste

Although it might seem an easier task than believed, it is important to know how to prepare the compost, for maximum benefits. Here are the basic stages of preparing the waste:

  1. Use fresh soil as the base of your compost pile as this would allow worms and other organisms to aerate and prepare the compost for use.
  2. Add straw or twigs to the pile as this accelerates aeration and assists in drainage.
  3. Continue to add layers of waste, alternating between moist and dry. Examples of dry waste would be wood ash, sawdust and straw. Moist waste would be teabags, food scraps and seaweed.
  4. Place the green manure (made of buckwheat, clover or wheatgrass) to activate the pile and speed the process. Any nitrogen source outlined earlier would do the trick.
  5. Keep the compost moist (either through watering or hosing) or allowing rainwater to collect.
  6. Cover the pile with plastic sheeting, old rugs or carpets or wood to help retain moisture and heat.
  7. Be sure to turn the compost over with a shovel every few weeks to add fresh oxygen to the pile.

Benefits of Building Your Own Compost Tumbler

Apart from the savings in cost, having your own compost tumbler will enable you to control exactly what type of waste is added to your valuable source of nutrition for your crops or flowers. As long as you are aware of what should be added and in which order, you are bound to enjoy the huge benefits of producing your own home-made compost.

You would not need to worry about running short or storing large amounts of compost as it would now be available on demand. It only takes a couple of minutes to prepare the whole mixture and feed your plants or crops with the sustenance they deserve!

Buying a Compost Tumbler

There are many benefits to making your own compost tumbler, the obvious one being the cost savings. But sometimes you may not have the time or patience it requires to make your own. Should this be the case you can purchase a compost tumbler from many places online or even your local hardware. The benefits of buying instead of purchasing include quality and lifespan. Generally a quality made compost tumbler will be made from steel and have a manufacturer’s warranty or some sort of guarantee that it will last a certain amount of years. Easy composter has a range of steel rotating compost bins for sale which include a colorbond finish and warranty.

Other Articles You May Enjoy

Browns and Greens – Your Ideal Composting Ingredients

Composting Basics – Learn How to Compost

10 Methods of Composting – Learn Other Composting Techniques

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