Tumbling Compost Question

Asked April 17, 2017, 9:33 PM EDT

Hi Gardening Expert, I'm new to composting, and bought a Miracle-Gro brand tumbling barrel. I really enjoy the process, but I'm worried that my mixture is too cold. I started loading up the barrel in the early spring, and I tried to be careful about starting with mostly brown materials like shredded leaves and dried grass from the previous year, collected from a meadow (I probably should have shredded this more than I did). Over the last month or so I have added pulp/fiber from my juicer, plus other vegetable trimmings. I turn the barrel a few times every two days. Some of the pulp seems to "disappear" pretty quickly, other but other parts clump up in golf ball sized bits, and seem to stay in their original form. The whole mass of material has decreased, seems to be settling and turning into something. It has all turned dark brown and a bit wet and muddy, but I still see some leaves in there, too. As I mentioned before, it has never gotten warm or hot....it's still cool outside here in Minnesota, still hasn't gotten much above the 50s most days...and I only get sunshine on the barrel in the morning. I'm wondering if you have any thoughts...does it sound like I'm on the right track, and should be patient with it, or should I be adding some more brown materials to dry it out and such? Any thoughts or suggestions are very welcome. Thank you!

Hennepin County Minnesota composting horticulture compost tumbler

1 Response

Composting is a tricky thing. I once had a tumbler and ended up giving it away after two seasons. It can be done but you need to follow guidelines. Yes, it does sound as though you need more brown organics. Here is a link to our publication on composting. To the right is an index. If you click on any subject, it will bring up an entire article. http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/soils/composting-and-mulching-guide/index.html