Build A Tumbling Composter in 20 Minutes

Let's face it, gardening can be a little expensive until you know some of the shortcuts. Purchase a $150 - $200 tumbling composter built on a frame? I don't think so.

Using a few simple tools, I created a tumbling composter that I can wheel over to where my grass clippings or raked leaves are, and load it up. Then wheel it back. Simple.

You can use the quick navigation method below by clicking a link in the table of contents to jump right to what you need to see.​

Build A Tumbling Composter In About 20 Minutes

Supplies You Will Need

Although I purchased this Rubbermaid 32 gallon trash can from Amazon and had it shipped out, you can find these at plenty of local stores​, probably for a bit less. For me, not having to spend the hour to go get it was a big plus.

Getting The Carbon:Nitrogen Mix Right

As I mentioned in the video, the Carbon to Nitrogen ratio's you put into your composter, will make a difference in the effectiveness and speed with which your composter turns out gardening material.

There are several schools of thought on how to get the mix just right for optimum breakdown into a usable growing medium. The correct proportion of carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein production is a skill you are going to want to have.

If the Carbon:Nitrogen ratio is too high (excess carbon), decomposition slows down. If the Carbon:Nitrogen ratio is too low (excess nitrogen) you will end up with a stinky pile.

Planet Natural says the ideal range is 25-30:1 Carbon:Nitrogen. In fact, many ingredients used for composting do not have the ideal ratio of 25-30:1. As a result, most must be mixed to create “the perfect compost recipe.” High C:N ratios may be lowered by adding grass clippings or manures. Low C:N ratios may be raised by adding paper, dry leaves or wood chips.

Print this out for future reference.

Estimated Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratios

Browns = High Carbon C:N
Ashes, wood 25:1
Cardboard, shredded 350:1
Corn stalks 75:1
Fruit waste 35:1
Leaves 60:1
Newspaper, shredded 175:1
Peanut shells 35:1
Pine needles 80:1
Sawdust 325:1
Straw 75:1
Wood chips 400:1
Greens = High Nitrogen C:N
Alfalfa 12:1
Clover 23:1
Coffee grounds 20:1
Food waste 20:1
Garden waste 30:1
Grass clippings 20:1
Hay 25:1
Manures 15:1
Seaweed 19:1
Vegetable scraps 25:1
Weeds 30:1

Hey You!

Have you built your own? I would love to hear about it. Have a better design? Share with me and I will put it online as well. As always, comments, suggestions and dialog is encouraged. So please share this with your network of fabulous peep's and help me spread the video.

About the Site Owner

Cenay is a work at home computer programmer and web designer with a fondness for fresh greens and an aversion to over paying for them in the grocery store. Her solution was to start her own garden, and grow her own greens.

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