If you turned a stubby barrel sideways on a moisture-collecting base, you'd have an idea of what the Envirocycle Compost Tumbler and Tea Maker looks like. The product, retailing for $125 and up (2010), allows gardeners, particularly those with small yards, the opportunity to make compost without an obtrusive, large compost bin or pile. The use of enclosed tumblers deters rodents, skunks, snakes and raccoons, and the rollers' tumbling action reduces the labor involved in turning a pile with a pitchfork.
The Envirocycle Compost Tumbler makes compost and "tea" (nutritionally rich drippings) from yard and kitchen scraps, reducing household waste by about 30 percent. City dwellers who don't have the room for a compost pile may prefer this model of compost device; it can fit in a small terrace, balcony or pocket garden.
The drum's design favors the rapid creation of compost out of a 50-50 mixture of green material (wet materials high in nitrogen, such as garden waste, food scraps, coffee grinds and animal manures) and brown material (dry items such as hay, straw, twigs and grass clippings and sawdust, high in carbon). Rotating the drum three times a week mixes the contents and adds air. The apparatus base collects liquid fertilizer. Dilute the liquid with 10 parts water to 1 part liquid fertilizer for use on indoor and outdoor plants.
The cycle to achieve finished compost takes four to six weeks, according to the manufacturer, and up to eight to 10 weeks, according to hobbyists.
This compost maker is 28.5 inches high, 24.5 inches wide and 20 inches deep and weighs 19 pounds. Its capacity is 7 cubic feet.
A latched door flips up for adding organic material or water. The surface provides grip indentations for rotation and openings to permit moisture to drain out. The drum sits on eight rollers to permit tumbling. The base includes a built-in hose connection for draining the tea.
Keep materials in the drum moist but not wet. As drum becomes heavier, use a back-and-forth rocking motion to mix materials. In winter, do not turn the tumbler but continue to add waste. Freezing breaks down the fibers in the waste and accelerates decomposition in the spring.
Keep meat, fish, dairy products and pet waste out of this compost tumbler, as well as oils, fats, diseased plants and bones. Add brown material or rotate the drum to avoid odor. Fill the drum no more than three-quarters full.
The Envirocycle compost tumbler needs to be placed on level ground. It can be rolled to the desired spot to dump the finished compost--simply detach the door and tip it over. To use on indoor plants, let compost air dry for one or two days to remove excess moisture.
The Garden Composter website notes the following strengths of Envirocycle compost tumbler: neatness, simple rotating system and compact size. The website notes that hobbyists will have at least a month when they cannot put any kitchen scraps or garden waste into the bin to allow composting to take its course. It recommends freezing kitchen waste or buying two garden composters, so that one is digesting and the other accepting organic waste.