I put the tumbler together over a month ago, but couldn’t start making compost right away. The instructions said it would work best if it was filled up all at once with 50 percent brown plant material and 50 percent green plant material.
But there is no green plant material in a zone 5 garden in early March, so my original plan for the tumbler was to get out the grass catcher for the lawnmower and bag the grass clippings the first time I mowed the lawn in late March/early April.
But that would have involved finding the grass catcher (I think it is in the attic), figuring out how to attach it (since I’ve never used it before) and then mowing with it attached (and having to stop periodically to empty the bag, thus distrupting the “zen” experience of mowing the lawn).
Then I saw henbit growing in the paths of my raised vegetable garden, lots of green, fresh henbit. So I changed my mind about using grass clippings as the green material for the compost tumbler and went with the henbit.
I had plenty of it, more than enough to add with some brown plant material (which I took off the top of my compost bins) and fill up the compost tumbler.
Then I put the lid on and tumbled it around a few times. So far so good. It remained steady on its base and didn’t require a lot of effort on my part to spin it.
Let the composting begin. I’ll “tumble” this barrel every day or so and well see how long it is until I have compost.
And because I had a lot of henbit, we can also see long it is before the henbit I threw on the traditional compost bins disappears and turns into compost, too.
There is, by the way, one minor thing about this tumbler that I don’t like.
It is black. It sticks out in the garden and is big enough that there is no good place to hide it, at least in my garden.
But I got an idea when I visited a garden in Austin, Texas on Saturday where the owner had a plastic barrel of comparable size. She had painted hers to blend in more with the garden. I might try this on this tumbler and spray paint it tan or green to make it blend in more. I’ll use a paint that is supposed to stick to plastic. It will either improve the looks of the tumbler or make it worse. I’ll only find out by trying!