Sunday, September 2, 2012

Compost tumbler

With fall and winter not too far off, I'm feeling the need to take care of business around the house.  Buttoning everything up, or preparing to do so, always gives me a sense of closure.  With all the troubles with Ty, a little distraction seemed in order.  I think we needed a little mental and emotional break.  We are just exhausted from this journey, and while we will do it for as long as it takes, constantly focusing on it is very difficult.

On my plans for this week was a compost tumbler (and if one turned out, a second one, as well).

Several days ago I found 32 gallon, locking lid trash cans that I thought would make for a great, smaller compost tumbler.  I had found some 55 gallon drums in the local ads, but they didn't have removable lids, and that was really rather important.  These smaller cans were on sale for $9.99/each at my local Bi-Mart, and we picked up two of them.

With some scrap lumber we had on hand, and a few parts from the hardware store, we were ready.

We drilled a hole in the bottom of the can (off center, as we had a slope on one half of the bottom to make way for the wheels, and needed a flat surface).  We fitted it with a 3" plumbing flange (on the outside), and a 2' piece of pipe we had drilled holes into (at about 3" intervals), which slid over the flange, from the inside.

We then capped it with a rubber plumbing cover, and synched it down.  If the ventilation pipe needs cleaning, removing the plumbing cover will be a snap.

We put a piece of screen over the pipe before pushing it onto the flange, which would work as a barrier for pests.  Paired with the perforated pipe, air can find its way inside the can for healthy compost.

Total cost for this project was about $18.00, including the can.  If it works well, we will make another.  Even with two, this will pay for itself in very short order, and continue to do so, for a long time to come.

I like how the lid hangs off the side of the base.  Not something we designed for, it just happened to work out that way.

My can tips forward because my ventilation pipe is off center, but when it starts to fill, I suspect it won't do that any longer.  None the less, if it still tips when full, I really won't care.  The price was right.  That's really all I care about...well, and I'd like it to make compost, as well, but I believe it will.

Another project using a lot of re-purposed material, and things we had here at the house.  It feels good to accomplish something with minimal expense, and know that you will make your money back in fairly short order.

Once the second one is done and in place, we will spread some bark chips through that area.  This is where the shed once stood.


  1. Making compost in a tumbler is a labor-saving way to convert lawn and kitchen waste into organic fertilizer for your garden. While ready-made compost tumblers are available at lawn and garden retailers, making your own from repurposed materials is another way to go green by using items that would otherwise go to a landfill.

    1. Self sustaining practices help us all. I hope to make enough compost to share with my neighbors.

  2. I love reading all your posts, Leslie. Sometimes so emotional and heartfelt; sometimes so practical; sometimes SO DELICIOUS!! It's like we get to sit down together and enjoy a hot cup of tea and share information, from 1000 miles away. You have so many gifts to share with the world. Thank you!

    1. Thank you. I feel your kindness across the miles, as well. :)