Composting 2017 vs 40's and 50's

by derek
(St Pete, USA)

Tumbler in the back corner

Tumbler in the back corner

Oh how things have changed.... In the 40's and 50's our parents composted everything organic. They dug a 3'wide pit, just threw in everything; I think. As a child and teen, I was anti anything about gardens, vegetables or flowers. Bees, bicycles, general mischief, and of course later, girls, were more my style.

Somehow in my "Third Age", the wheel has turned, and developed a new/old interest. However, tis confusing to read conflicting statements from one paragraph to the next.

Raw, not cooked, vegetable not animal is what should go into the compact compost tumbler. Surely organic is organic, and the worms don't care. Is it just to keep the rats out? There are other ways for that like our dual tumbler.

I vaguely remember our pits used to be just outside the kitchen, till somebody, probably the housekeeper, put her foot down, and they were moved way down the garden.

We have loved the ease of recycling everything non-organic in St Pete, but then the remainder sat for days and stunk so we bought a tumbler to get rid of that. It is so easy; two compartments for when the first fills up, and just give it a spin or two.

Maybe we could buy a can-o'-worms, and throw them in for faster composting??

KISS; Keep It Simple Stupid is a great principle, but it seems composting has forgotten that idea.

Hello Derek,
Thank you for your thoughts; absolutely, keep it as simple as you can.

For a compost pile at the bottom of the garden you can be a lot less circumspect; if it stinks, who cares? But for a compact compost tumbler in the smaller garden you need to be a little more careful.

Firstly, no compost should be made in a 'pit'. Maximum aeration is the order of the day; build them above ground; and that's the beauty of your compost tumbler.

In a compact compost tumbler, I'm sure it has a lid, so vermin and even flies shouldn't be much of a problem. But there's a difference between a worm farm and your tumbler.

Worms will devour anything; but the other bacteria and fungi seem to be more discriminating. If you want to turn your tumbler into a wormfarm then indeed you can add cooked rice, meat and other stuff.

However a worm farm has an outlet at the bottom for the wee to trickle out; special stuff for your lettuces. Your tumbler may be more problematic. Give it a shot, there's nothing to be lost. Do you have friends with worms they can give to you? They aren't the common earthworm, but called fetida. They devour fetid material that your normal bacteria and fungi may not; or may with a stink.

In short, a compost tumbler and a worm farm are two different entities. Raw dead rats, chickens or meat can go into the compost heap at the bottom of the garden; I don't recommend them for your tumbler but give it a shot, and prove me wrong; it may stink. Cooked stuff goes only to the worm farm in our garden.

I hope this clarifies a few things; prove me wrong!


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