Wednesday, April 10, 2013

One Way To Start Saving The Earth - Composting

I have been looking at videos about tumbling composters, especially ones that show you how to make your own. I would like one of those. I live in a very cold climate, Alaska. That means that composting can be less than rewarding here. It can easily take over a year to get composting done that only takes a season, or less in a more temperate climate.

I already compost some, but since I live in an apartment and share my yard with people who barely accept that climate change is happening, doing a lot can be difficult or impossible. I think it will be worth a try to make a compost tumbler, so I can compost more. I would like to be able to not throw out anything that it would be possible to compost.

Since I am trying this way to work on saving the Earth from further damage contributing to climate change, I thought some readers would also like to begin composting, or do more of it than they already do.

Here is a link to a youtube video about making a composter from used materials, which is even better than buying one or making one from new materials:

A lot of tumblers are built so that they tumble end over end. This is good from the standpoint that it will mix up the compost inside better than a tumbler that tumbles sideways. It is not so good if you have a bad back or other problems that will make it a lot harder for you to operate.

If it hurts you to spin your compost tumbler, it will probably stop you from using it. I think it is better to take a little longer to finish compost inside an easier to operate compost tumbler than to end up not composting at all.

You can compensate a little for not spinning your composter lengthwise by putting pieces of material inside the tumbler. I looked at a video where they bolted them inside the tumbler to make it mix the compost materials inside better.

You could get something like it by flattening out a large tin can into a rectangle and then bending it diagonally at right angles. You could then drill through one side and bolt it onto the inside of the tumbler, leaving the other side sticking up into the tunbler. 

It would then make the compost materials inside the tumbler break into smaller pieces faster and mix the compost materials better.

Here is a link to a set of plans with pictures for making a similar compost tumbler. I think it can be easier to make things if you have something you can look at while you work. I don't imagine that many people have the capacity to watch videos while they work in their workshop.

Plans link:

The same site also offers plans for compost bins that sit on the ground and require you to turn the contents of the bin  regularly. That means trouble if you have any problems with your back. I think that if you do the compost turning in a bin, you could end up with back trouble, even if your back is okay now. 

If yo have read my posts about preparedness health, you already know that I think taking care of your health all the time is part of good disaster preparedness. I hope that you will consider this when doing things like making and using compost tumblers. 

The simplest composter is a hole in the ground with a pile of dirt beside it. You just put in a layer of compost on the bottom and sprinkle some of the dirt on it. A problem with this method is that scavengers like neighborhood pets and pests like rats and mice can be attracted and get into one of these.

When you have a compost tumbler off the ground, it lessens the opportunities for pests and pets to get into it.

There are much more elaborate tumbling composters. I used to have plans for one that was raised high enough off of the ground to require a ramp up to the top to load more compost materials into it. You could place a wheelbarrow under the tumbler. It was very convenient to use. It also composted in as little as two weeks, according to the author.

The aforementioned tumbler worked so fast because it allowed a lot of air to get into the compost inside it. There were no solid sides or ends on that one, it was all made with wire mesh stretched between pieces of lumber. That tells you that if you want your compost tumbler to work faster, you need to find ways to get extra air into the compost.

I hope that lots of you start composting. Maybe making your own compost tumbler will make it easier for you to do.

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