Urban Compost Tumbler – We Look at the Urban Composter

There is quite a range of different types of compost tumblers to choose from. Probably the most popular tumbler style is the center axle compost tumbler, as it represents a good tradeoff between ease of use vs cost and complexity. Buying one of these is more expensive that a typical bin, but it allows you to regularly turn the pile with a minimum of effort, which is the main reason you want a tumbler to begin with. Our favorite of these is the Urban Compost Tumbler.

As we mentioned, Urban Compost Tumblers is center axle mounted drum design. This style uses a drum that is mounted on a stand, the mounting being a rod or axle that runs through the drum, allowing the drum to rotate like a ferris wheel or some other carnival attraction. This is basically a simpler design than many tumblers which have the drum resting on a support, with roller bearings or something similar, often with a crank or some other geared mechanism to allow the large drum to rotate.

Urban Compost Tumblers come in a couple of sizes, there is a 7.5 cubic foot design which is the easiest to handle, and is adequate for most gardeners needs. For those with a larger garden, you may want to look at the 9.5 cubic foot design which can obviously handle more waste.

One reason the Urban composters work as well as they do is the patented center aeration tube. An adequate way to aerate the pile is key to accelerating any composting, and this unique tube does an excellent job. The combination adequate aeration and constantly turning the pile result in great compost in just a few weeks.

Like almost any tumbler, because they are enclosed structures, especially those that are mounted well above the ground like these, they have few problems with rodents and other pests. The mounting height also makes the unloading of the finished compost into a wheelbarrow fairly easy, which is important for a composter that is large enough that it has to stay in one place.

The single biggest problem with the center axle design for compost tumblers is that after the compost has worked for a while, is starts to break down and is a little denser. This results in a pile that will slide from one end of the tumbler to the other, and eventually as the compost finishes off it may become too heavy for smaller people to actually rotate. If you feel this may be an issue, I’d recommend the smaller 7.5 cubic foot UCT-7 Urban Compost Tumbler, since the lower quantity of waste should be less trouble

Fully enclosed, and mounted above ground, they are virtually rodent proof, and the right height above ground for both loading and unloading.

This video looks at the setup of an Urban Compost Tumbler.

Remember, with any enclosed composter or tumbler, you have to pay a little more attention to getting a good mix of green and brown material in place to get the compost heeting but not overheating. Turn it often, and keep the moisture to the level of a damp rag, and you should be “turning” out compost in just a few weeks.

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