Moisture and oxygen are two critical ingredients for composting. Since composting is an aeroebic process, the microorganisms will require oxygen to function properly. In addition, a proper balance of moisture must be maintained. The proper way to maintain an adequate balance of both oxygen and moisture is to tumble the entire compost heap daily. Tumbling a compost pile creates oxygen pathways throughout the heap, while distributing the moisture consistently throughout the heap.
Tumbling a compost heap can be an arduous process. For example, in a small, compact composter bin, it may be difficult to thorough mix the material at the bottom of the heap with the material at the top of the heap. The use of a tumbling composter facilitates this entire process. A tumbling composter or compost tumbler usually comes with a built-in mechanism that allows the entire compost heap to turn and mix. For example, many tumbling composters consist of a barrel that revolves around an axle. The entire barrel can be turned much like a bingo tumbler. Some larger compost tumblers even come with gears and a turning crank so that heavy loads can be accomodated.
Compost tumblers are usually more animal-safe than compost piles or composter bins. This is because tumbling composters are often raised off the surface of the ground, which makes it more difficult for small animals to gain access.
Some tumbling composters also come with a dual-batch mode. The dual-batch mode allows a tumbling composter to accomodate two batches of compost at the same time. One frequent reason why composting takes so long is that homeowners are constantly adding new material to the heap. Unfortunately, tumbling new material with old will only delay the entire process. The solution is to segregate the old material from new material in separate batches.
One feature to look for in a tumbling composter is ease of use and installation. Some composters may be extremely difficult to install. Other compost tumblers will come with snap-lock stands that will make installation easy. Generally-speaking, the framed tumbling composters with axles tend to turn easier than the rolling composters. This is because rolling mechanisms often become trapped with dirt over time.
Finally, it all comes down to home the compost tumbler looks in your garden. Ultimately, you want a tumbling composter that fits in your garden, while accentuating the decor. Happy tumbling!