New Compost Tumbler: no action at all
- danna Mar 23, 2011 01:22 PM
I've been very excited about my new tumbler....started it up with Liriope clippings and dead flower stalks and dried leaves. Continued w/ pulp from weekly juicing. No action. Decided I didn't have enough brown and added shredded newspaper. Still nothing. Bought "compost starter" from Lowe's (appears to be fish meal) and sprinkled it in. Nada. I turn it 2-3 times a week.
I started it in South Carolina around the first of March. We are having balmy 80 degree weather today and the stuff in the bin looks just like it did when I put it in there. Smells OK, I see a few bugs, that's about it.
I don't have the tumbler version, just the old-fashioned bin, but wouldn't expect action this quick. The starter does help heat things up quicker. How 'bout some grass clippings? Our takes a good couple of months to really decompose, though.
There's just one thing missing from your scenario: patience.
Regardless of all the hypey advertising, all those compost tumblers do is speed up compost production SOMEWHAT. You're not going to have finished compost in 3 weeks. In fact, the very earliest I'd expect to "maybe" see results - weather & turning dependent - would be more like 3 months.
no kidding? some of the online sites I looked at said you ought to feel heat coming off the thing in as little as 2 weeks.
So, should I stop putting stuff in it til it does something? We really wanted to feel like all that leftover pulp from the juicing wasn't going totally to waste. Maybe I need to start making carrot (pulp) cake muffins or something. thanks!
Yes, you'll feel "heat" in the compost in as little as a week, but all that means is that it's "cooking" - not that it's close to being "done". When it's finished the end product should be dark & crumbly with no offensive odor - just a sort of earthy smell. And you shouldn't be able to make out any of the original ingredients.
Here, check these links.
1st link is a review of various composting systems and how they work:
2nd link is a Compost Troubleshooting Guide:
Hopefully these can help you with your issue and continue better compost management.