Compost Tumbler

Asked May 13, 2017, 8:14 PM EDT

Hi! We live in Bend, Oregon. The weather can turn freezing cold as you know. We have had difficulty composting on the ground. What big, best compost tumbler would you recommend? We don't want to give up composting. Thanks, Sarah and Charles

Deschutes County Oregon

2 Responses

Thanks for your composting question. First, here's a link to an excellent article about composting in cool or cold weather. It explains how, even in cold environments, microbes are still working (eating, etc., actually) to reduce your organic waste materials to molecules that can be used again and again by your plants.

Second, as you asked for (although we're not able to recommend specific brands), here's a link to an article comparing compost tumblers. Let me point out, however, that the tumbling composting containers are six to twelve inches off the ground. One of the limitations not mentioned by any of the reviews (or commercials) is that microbes are unable to get from the soil to the organic material to help break it down. There are some airborne fungi and bacteria, but the majority of the valuable microbes in the 'rot' process are in the soil. Unless you add soil to the tumbler (which, of course, will make it heavier and harder to turn), you won't have the advantage of those microbes.

I've had them all and, frankly, I've found the best way to get free, immediately-usable-by-my-plants compost is using red wriggler worms. Their waste is plentiful, doesn't smell, and is light. Here's a link to a brief article about the subject; links to the pamphlets are at the bottom of the article. (I keep a worm bin in my house during the winter and take it outside once day and night temperatures exceed 40 degrees.) Just saying....

Hope these are helpful. Good luck!

Kristena L.: You are so cool! Thank you for the help! I appreciate this service and will write again ~

Sarah & Charles Gradek