How to Compost in Rotating Barrels 

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Last Updated on January 26, 2022

Have you tried composting in a rotating barrel before? 

A compost tumbler often referred to as a rotating barrel is one of the ways you can compost your kitchen waste. You can purchase a rotating barrel or a compost tumbler for use in your apartment building. Before you go looking for a good compost tumbler to buy, it is only right that you know how to compost in a rotating barrel. 

In this article, we will be talking about the safest methods on how to engage in odorless composting; either indoors or outdoors with the help of a compost tumbler. 

What is a Rotating Barrel?

Rotating barrels are also called compost tumblers and are designed as an odorless and easy method of composting. They can be purchased at retail stores that deal on gardening tools and equipment both online and offline. They are available in different shapes and sizes which make it possible for you to find one that can fit into small spaces. 


They are a safe option if you are looking to compost indoors and can produce fresh compost from kitchen waste in a short period. The only downside to using a compost tumbler is that they limit the amount of waste you can compost at a time. When you make use of compost bins, you can add as much materials and can compost a lot which is the only advantage it has over rotating barrels. 

Benefits of rotating Barrels 

There are a lot of benefits if using a rotating barrel compared to compost bins and they include 

  • Makes Composting Easy

A compost tumbler is designed to make composting easy. They save you the stress associated with composting since they require little labor. With backyard composting or compost bins, you have to keep cleaning and maintaining the compost bins which can be a lot of work. 

  • Clean Form of Composting 

One of the problems associated with backyard composting is that it can be untidy. The materials smell when not properly arranged and can breed flies and vermin around your garden. With a rotating barrel, you get to avoid the sight of filthy looking compost since the entire unit is sealed. 

  • Produce rich compost in a short time

If you want nutrient-rich compost in the shortest possible time, then you should consider getting a rotating barrel. They can break down kitchen waste to rich compost nutrients in 2 weeks. 

How to Use a Rotating Barrel

One of the problems of compost tumblers apart from the fact that a lot of them are expensive is that they can be difficult to turn. When the materials in the barrel are not properly turned, it becomes difficult for them to decompose which means you don’t get to harvest any nutrient for your plants. 

A closed compost tumbler requires the right kind of conditions for it to perform its duties. With regular composting, you pile the materials on the ground and leave them for months for nature to act on it. They get direct sunlight and enough moisture to ensure that decomposition takes place. For you to get the best from your rotating tumblers, they have to be able to perform their duty which is to ensure that the materials are rotated to speed up the decomposition process. 

Some quick tips to using a rotating barrel include 

  • You need to start the process by adding compost soil to the materials. If you can’t get compost soil, you can get compost activator of horse manure as they are also effective in speeding the decomposition process. 
  • Ensure that the materials you add to your rotating barrels are in the right ratio. A carbon to nitrogen ratio of 25 is a good fit for most compost tumblers. 
  • It is recommended that all materials are shredded to small pieces. This helps to speed up the decomposition process. 
  • The best way to use a rotating barrel is for batch production. Adding materials without following a batching system only makes it difficult for decomposition to take place. 
  • You want to also ensure that your materials are moist enough. This is a requirement if you want to get the best out of your compost. 
  • You can purchase a composter with dual compartments if you have too many materials that need to be composted. This makes it possible for you to produce compost in batches and never run out of nutrients. This is a good investment if you are in the business of turning kitchen waste to manure. 

Before you Buy a Rotating Barrel

It is important that you decide on the amount of compost you want to manufacture before buying a rotating barrel. This makes it possible for you to decide on the right size of tumbler that will meet your needs. If you will be using your compost tumblers in an apartment building, it is only right that you find a befitting space to keep it. They can be kept at the balcony or on an accessible rooftop. 

You also need to have access to the right composting materials. This includes green organic materials such as fruits, vegetables, grass clipping, and leaves. You also need to have enough brown materials to add to your rotating barrel such as straw, newspaper, sawdust, pellets, eggshells, and peat moss. 

How to Compost in Rotating Bins

We advise that you purchase a large rotating barrel if you have the resources and space to keep it. If you are finding it difficult to get access to materials to use in your compost tumblers, you can also meet with your neighbors and agree to collect their kitchen waste. Discuss with them and provide bins for them to keep their scraps in until you are ready to collect them. 

You can save yourself a great deal of stress with a rotating barrel. Also, they help to reduce the smell and dirt associated with composting. While the large compost tumblers are expensive, you can also find small sized barrels that are well priced. 

Which brand of rotating barrel do you use? We will like to hear from you. 

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