How to build a miniature compost tumbler

Written by leanne canirs
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How to build a miniature compost tumbler
Turn leftover waste into mineral-rich soil with a compost tumbler. (Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Using a compost tumbler is a great way to turn leftover waste into mineral-rich soil, which can provide you with food later on. Using compost from a tumbler has many benefits for your garden, including improving even the worst soil and providing high levels of nutrients for plants. Compost tumblers can be expensive if bought from a gardening store, but fortunately, they are easy to make at home.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small metal garbage can
  • 2 elastic bungee cord
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Duct tape (optional)

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  1. 1

    Punch 20 to 30 holes in the bottom and sides of your garbage can using your hammer and nail. The holes should be spaced out evenly for best results. This will allow oxygen to reach your compost and prevent it from smelling.

  2. 2

    Fill the garbage can with compost material. You should alternate layers for best results. For example, first start with a layer of carbon material, such as straw or dead leaves. Then follow with a layer of nitrogen material, such as fresh grass. Finally, finish with a layer of garden soil. Continue this process until your dustbin is 3/4 full. You can also moisten each layer as you add it for quicker results.

  3. 3

    Place the lid on your garbage can, and secure it in place with the bungee cords. Using your hammer and nail, punch 4 more holes in the top of your dustbin. Hook each end of the bungee cords into a hole, crisscrossing the cords so they form an "X" shape. To secure the lid further, you can duct tape the top in place, though this isn't necessary.

  4. 4

    Tip the garbage can on its side, and roll it around. This helps to mix each layer of compost. You want to roll your compost tumbler daily for best results, making sure it turns over at least 3 times.

  5. 5

    Open your compost tumbler every 3 to 4 days to check on the moisture level. You want compost that doesn't drip with water, but also doesn't fall apart when you pick up a handful. If your compost is too dry, try misting it with water. If the compost is too wet, try adding dry ingredients, such as leaves or sawdust.

  6. 6

    Check your compost until all the previously added ingredients are broken down. Now you can remove the compost to use in your garden and repeat the process as needed.

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