The Q&A Archives: Benefits of Compost Tumblers

Question: I have been seeing a lot of commercials about compost tumblers. A neighbor is giving away a Kemp compost tumbler. I compost the old-fashioned way--in a wire cage. Any opinions?

Answer: Well, the appeal of a tumbler is the ease of turning the compost, which is a real benefit to anyone with back trouble. Composting methods really should fit your needs and situation -- and your personality. (National Gardening Magazine ran a humorous -- and savvy -- quiz on "Your Composting Personality" -- here's the Web link:

For myself, I prefer to have a couple of different methods going due to my circumstances. I fill a plastic bin with food scraps layered with leaves/weeds, etc. to keep critters from digging after the food scraps, and also have piles of rough yard waste. They compost at different rates, which is fine with me, since I'm in no hurry. But if you are in a hurry, a tumbler is great -- you can make compost really quickly, so long as the constituents of the mix are correct. I would probably take it because it's free, but someone else is likely to make better use of it, since it really doesn't fit my "composting personality." Take the quiz and see where you fit in. Hope this helps!

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