As I’ve mentioned, Double S and I are in the process of transforming our yard from lawn to food production. There’s more to come about that later this week. We have mainly been doing this on the cheap: elbow grease, newspaper, used coffee grounds, and the help of family and friends go a long way. We did splurge on something though. A new compost tumbler…the aptly named ComposTumbler! I was very excited about the delivery of my (soon to be) filthy (on the inside) new toy. The City of Seattle now awesomely requires composting of yard and food scraps, but don’t give them away! Use them to grow a garden!
We bought our CompostTumbler from here, and I highly recommend. Very fast shipping–other sites advertised 3-4 weeks for delivery, and we got ours in about a week, which is why I chose the Monster Worms site. And I got a personal email from them telling me that the tumbler was shipped, and that I should email with any questions. Not too shabby!
It’s not to say that the process was all rainbows and unicorns. Putting together this Tumbler was a three day affair. Count ’em: THREE DAYS! But last night, we put our first bucket of food scraps into this bad boy and it was all worth it!
You really should compost if you don’t already. It’s easy, dump your food and yard waste, occasionally mix up the bin, and wait. And using the finished compost is the cheapest way to convert any patch of dirt to a productive garden.
You can compost in a lot of different ways. You can have a simple compost pile in your yard. We have too many brazen raccoons around here for us to do that. They just stroll around in broad daylight with their creepy humanesque fingers, clutching their parcels and climbing up steps, practically knocking on doors. Look at these creepy things!
You could also use a worm bin. We have a Can of Worms, which I got from Freecycle. But I’ve never gotten around to getting the worms, so that’s on the backburner for now. But it’s the same concept. Feed the worms your (food) garbage (no meat), and they will crap you out liquid gold for your garden, squirming their way up the can, leaving casings behind.
You could make your own compost bin in any number of ways and with any number of recycled materials. You could use a rain barrel or old food grade plastic drum. You can often find barrels or drums on Craigslist. The best website I found with instructions on a DIY compost barrel and a snappy how-to video was here. We almost tried this, but wanted to focus our attention on some other yard projects, so we went with the ComposTumbler.
You could also buy one of the many different tumblers that are on the market. Here is a good overview. One of the commentators makes a a good point, if you simply keep adding more food scraps and yard waste, you’ll always have unfinished compost mixed in with your finished stuff. For this reason, we got the dual bin tumbler. You could also make two tumblers, starting to add your scraps to a second one once you fill the first one, to achieve the same goal.
The tumbler was a project to put together. Great when finished, but putting it together was a long day’s journey into the depths of my soul. OK, not really, it had detailed and fairly easy to follow instructions, it was just a little overwhelming and time consuming.
The bag of screws and bolts alone was enough to make a grown Briggsy cry!
Finally with the help of a wrench tutorial from Double S’s uncle, we finished up the barrel.
The frame never actually seemed that sturdy, but the heavy barrel keeps it doing what needs to be done.
The Tumbler comes with a promise that finished compost will be ready in 14 days. From my research, I read that it’s more like a month, but this still sounds great to me. We splurged on the barrel, but we won’t need to spend $10-$15 per bag of compost anymore, and we need it for a fairly large space. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of our rotting food as the weeks progress. Don’t get too excited!
Update on past Tuesday night projects:
The kombucha is a raging success. I’m am so psyched about this! It truly is all about the heat. Get a seedling heat mat for your plant starts, and use it from time to time for kombucha. I bottled 5 bottles of the green tea mid-week last week, and 5 more bottles of the black tea on Sunday night.
10 bottles of kombucha for the price of 10 tea bags and two cups of sugar, and the minimal energy used by the heating mat. Both of the SCOBY’s made babies!
In my prior attempts, fully formed babies were never produced, so I knew that I had success. I saved both babies and some tea, and now we’re on the lookout for a few more gallon glass jars so we can have more brewing at once and use our heat mats for our starts soon.