I started getting serious about composting about a month ago and have read and learnt lots about the integral role compost plays in the Permaculture garden. The benefits are numerous and include soil conditioning, pest control, aeration, enrichment, water saving and much more. Composting was an obvious place to start as we already had everything we needed: kitchen scraps, prunings, leaves, paper, cow poo, water, bin and shovel. We’re already a stand out in our neighbourhood as we don’t have a lawn and don’t want one, but all of our neighbours do so hopefully there’ll be no shortage of grass clippings should we need some.
We’ve had a worm farm and a compost bin for years, and put all of our food scraps and cuttings into them regularly. The worms have always been incredibly productive, but without putting the time into understanding the simple science of composting the bin has never really amounted to anything.
About 3 weeks ago, just after my Dad’s 88th birthday, we headed over to his place for lunch. I’d been raving about Dad’s old compost tumbler and wondered if he still had it. He doesn’t garden anymore and had decommissioned it some years ago but there it stood like a sentinel in a leafy corner of the yard. Like many of my friends from the 70’s, it still looked remarkably good for it’s age and I took a couple of photos for old times sake. Amazingly, Dad still had the original brochure so I took that with me to read.
That very night, my search of the web reveiled some interesting things about compost tumblers. Dad’s particular type hadn’t been made in Australia for at least 15 years and like many wonderful Australian inventions, the design had been sold off to the US. There are a few expensive plastic substitutes available in Victoria but nothing that matched the rustic farm-style of Dad’s tumbler.
My last hit of the night revealed something astonishing…a second hand one was for sale on Gumtree! Identical brand, colour and style but with a smaller barrel. Talk about serendipity! The very next day we were the proud owners of a pre-loved original Australian made metal ‘ComposTumbler’. And I love it just as Dad loved his.
We now have three compost bins and over time hope to create an efficient rotation system to provide a constant supply of healthy organic compost for our Permaculture garden. As we’re quite time poor, we’ve opted for 2 tumblers and 1 upright bin and figured that turning a handle while grinning sounded a lot more appealing than turning a heavy compost heap with a fork.