When my youngest son goes off to college next year, I will lose a great help in the garden. So for the last two years he and I have been working on several gardening projects to make gardening less labor intensive for me.
This spring we’ve already completed two big projects: new raised bed and racks for my compost tumblers. I am super excited to have them, since they’ve been on my wish list for 3-4 years.
If you’ve read my post on essential garden tools, you know I rank a compost tumbler in the Top Ten Most Important Garden Tools. A compost tumbler is a good way to keep your compost in one place and protected from pests. And it’s a great labor-saving tool.
I made my first compost tumbler (the white one) 4-5 years ago. I took a class from the local Community Adult Education program. The class provided all the materials and tools needed and I walked away with a completed compost tumbler. All this for $35.
We got the other two barrels for free from the local bottling company. After taking the class, it only took me a couple hours to make the next two. (Well, me and my son.)
I just roll the tumblers around the yard to stir the compost up and get it good and aerated. Next to a good mix of organic matter, nothing is more important to good compost than oxygen. Without it, the compost turns into a slimy stinky mess (if it’s wet) or a lumpy inert mess (if it’s dry.)
Make the tumbler even easier to use
But rolling the tumblers around the yard was hard on my back. And then there was the chore of trying to empty the completed compost into the garden. It took a lot of strong-arming and at least two people to get it out and spread around the garden.
So this spring (again, with the help of my sons) I salvaged a bunch of wood and other materials from the city boulevard during Spring Clean Up Week. The result: compost tumbler racks that cost me very little. I spent less than $10 for the screws, bolts and a bit of PVC pipe for all three.
Easy to make
They’re really pretty simple–just two sort-of lopsided X’s, held together by cross bars or braces on both the front/back and the sides. I have a piece of rebar that goes through the middle of the barrel and rests on the top of the “X”. The rebar slides through a length of PVC pipe. The PVC acts as a sort of bearing or sleeve so that the rebar doesn’t cause the barrel to tear or crack as it spins around.
Does all of that make sense? I made a video to show you how I made both the tumblers and the racks, along with a supply list, so you can make your own.
There are more projects we’re working on that I hope to share with you, so stay tuned.
I’m never ready to see my boys grow up and leave home. But hopefully, when my youngest leaves for college next year I’ll be readier–at least garden-wise.