How to Rotate a Home Compost Bin

4 tips for using rotating composters

Home composting systems are an easy way to reduce your household waste and create great compost for your home vegetable and flower gardens. You can build your own composting systems, usually in the form of a hoop, bin, bucket or worm box, based on the right size and cost level for you. However, rotating compost bins are an inexpensive way to produce compost quickly. Learn how to rotate a home compost bin, and what else you can do to properly turn and aerate your home compost systems.

Step 1: Learn what and how to compost

You can put yard trimmings, food waste and other organic matter in your home compost system. Be sure to balance the amount of green waste with brown, high-carbon material such as shredded paper, straw or shredded cardboard. The compost piles need to be turned, mixed, watered and aerated regularly to promote proper decomposition.

If you want more detailed instruction or some professional insider tips, you can take classes at local nurseries or hardware stores like The Home Depot or Lowe’s to learn how to compost. You can also learn how to compost using books or Internet articles.

Step 2: Pick the method that’s best for you

Rotating compost bins are a great choice to produce compost. Compost piles need to be properly turned and watered, and the layers need to be mixed around, which is why rotating compost bins make the process easier than manually turning and mixing the ingredients. Rotating compost bins have holes to encourage air flow and keep the contents aerated.

According to The Organic Gardener, an Illinois-based organic gardening consulting firm, rotating compost bins, drums or tumblers make turning, aerating and mixing the compost pile easy to do, thus speeding up decomposition.

It’s easy to use rotating compost bins that come with a handle: Simply turn the handle to rotate the bin. Compost bins in the form of drums often do not have a handle or crank. You can turn your compost drum by hand, by pushing hand over hand, as if you were rolling a ball. If you have a compost tumbler that spins on a vertical axle without a crank or handle, you would use your body weight to turn the tumbler vertically (flipping it over). No matter which type of rotating composter you have, the contents can then be easily emptied into a bucket or wheel barrow to move where you want to use them.

Step 3: Turn, turn, turn

If you want to learn how to compost, keep that phrase in mind. Turning is key when it comes to composting because the bacteria that help your compost decompose need air to live. When you turn your compost system, you should shift the dry material from the outer edges into the middle of the pile. Break up clumps to get as much oxygen into the pile as you can, then water the pile if it seems too dry. If you’re not using a rotating compost bin, a compost fork, aerator or rake can be used to turn your compost.

Step 4: Try a rake

Compost rakes can also be used to turn and aerate compost, and are great for easily removing compost from the bin. They also help you avoid touching the decomposing material. Compost rakes help break up solid clumps so compost can later be spread more easily.

Rakes are also beneficial when adding compost to your lawn or garden. Raking allows you to spread the compost evenly without leaving clumps.

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