Thursday, April 19, 2012

Labor Free Compost

Ten years or so ago, I invested in one of those pricey compost tumblers similar to the one in the link below.

My Dad was still living at the time, so I had him to help me assemble the monstrosity, since it came unassembled in a huge box.It was not really complicated to assemble, but since Dad was into gardening, too, I knew he would be as fascinated by the project, as I was.Gardeners love compost.Now, looking back, it was more or less something a city gardener would use, more than a country gardener.I am a country gardener.Had Dad lived, it would have been an ideal project for him to work with, living in town and all.He could have put his grass clippings and such in the tumbler along with house refuse and a few other additives, and had a great supply of compost, with only a few minutes of manual turning of the handle each day. Knowing Dad, he would have rigged up a motor for the tumbler.He was into mechanics and motors and such.Dad passed away shortly after we assembled the bin, and I carried it home with me, to have it sit idle,for the most part, for the next ten  years.It was in the dry,for most of the time, so it is still in perfect condition today, especially since I realized, it was much easier and more proctical to let my chickens make my compost for me.
my multi-tasking chickens

We have roughly twenty five chickens, and normally, they are in a totally enclosed pen, to protect them from wild animals.They don't lay as well, when kept up in a pen, but in order to have a garden and flowers, as we do, it's a must.This year,we have been letting them run free,for a spell. We have not put our garden in,as of yet, since the bulldozers working on the new property, have things in a bit of disaray in the garden area.The chickens are having a wonderful time foraging on grass and bugs (and ticks,we think).The tick population has been minimal so far this Spring, and Pop and I,both,normally find several on ourselves at the end of each day.Only one of the drawbacks of the country life.Since the chickens have been running free, we have found hardly any ticks at all, on our bodies.

When the chickens are in their usual pen, we feed them grass clippings from the yard, house scraps, as well as store bought feed and corn.Every now and again,I use the big tractor to dump in a huge front loader bucket full of shredded wood chips, which we get for free, from the local tree trimmers.

The drivers all know I love the chips, so when they are in this area, trimming the right away for the roads and the power lines, they bring me lots of chips. We got and over abundance of them this past years. The driver did not know the area, so it was handy just to dump them all here, rather than look for other sites to dump them. More and more folks are gardening now and using the chips, so I am really fortunate to know some of the drivers personally,and having an occasional glass of iced tea or a soda, and a sandwich ready when they stop by, never hurts, either.

After all the scratching, turning, pooping, and more scratching and turning, the finished product is ready to be used in my garden and flower beds.Now that's what I call Black gold.Jed Clampet can keep his Black Gold,I'll take mine,any day of the week.

This past weekend, I finally found a new home for the tumbler.I may have made some folks mad over giving it away to the step daughter, but after begging someone,anyone, to take it off my hands, for years, I finally found someone who actually came with a trailer and picked it up.I hope they enjoy it.It was an expensive lesson to learn,but I prefer my method of composting.


  1. I have a compost tumbler and you're right, they are more of a city gardening thing. That's where I am and it's perfect for that. Though I think we may buy a second one so we can leave the first one to mature for while.

  2. Sue ,good morning,the dozer work is looking good over there, and you do have a lot of mulch, i know it will be handy to use.It is good that you know people to get the mulch, i see you out working in your yard, got some pretty flowers. WE have got our garden going now, we also took down the dog pen , so i have got to move a row of flowers, our fence was a pickett fence and we are going to sell it if the girls don't need it. I have my work cut out for me so that mean i need to get out of the sewing roomand get busy, but i have to be in the mood to work in the flowers. So you have a good day!!!!

  3. Chickens are handy for so many things, aren't they?