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No Holes in My Tumbler Bin


April 25, 2017

I have a LifeTime 65-gallon tumbler bin that I have had for several years.  I took a tumbler bin class because I never could figure out how to “make” compost.  In the class, the instructor said the tumbler bin needs holes; however, my bin does not have holes.  Do I need to make some? Or is there another remedy?


Answer from JH: Dolly, I am not familiar with that particular tumbler but I looked at photos of it online. The purpose of having any holes in the bin is to allow for airflow as well as to allow for drainage of excess water. If your compost does not smell and you are turning the tumbler as per the directions, then the airflow is adequate, and if you don't notice water puddling at the bottom, then that is not an issue either. So this particular bin may not require additional holes.

You mention that you have been unable to make compost. Questions for you are 1) how long have you been trying and 2) do you mix a batch of materials once and leave them until they are finished or do you keep adding materials to the bin as you go? The lack of progress could simply be that enough time has not passed for the materials to decompose. Solutions would be to improve the ratio of carbon to nitrogen (adding nitrogen/"greens"), increasing and maintaining the moisture level (to that of moist coffee grounds), and then allowing enough time to pass (18 months or more for this particular bin). If materials are being added after the initial setup then even more time is needed. If you feel all these steps are being taken and there is still no evident progress, then a more in-depth evaluation of your entire system and materials might be warranted.

You may receive additional responses from other master composters. In the meantime, please feel free to provide followup information or ask additional questions.

Answer by JZ: Here are my thoughts.  The Life Time- 65 tumbler does have small water drain holes. When the bin is in the stationary position, look down at the bottom outer edges - there you will see a small hole on each side.  Add some water to the bin, then you will see how it drains water from the two holes.  You will notice a perforated pipe in the central axis of the inside of the bin - this is for aeration of the organics in the bin.  You are good to go….

Follow the tips posted on our Tumbler Bins page.

Let us know if you need further help.   Keep up !

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