The Tumbleweed composter is one of the more best selling compost tumblers around. Tumblers have many advantages over a traditional compost bin in terms of speed, ease of use, and protection from vermin and other pests. Here we look at some of the better features of the Tumbleweed.
The Tumbleweed compost tumbler is a center axle compost tumbler. The center axis designs looks more like a Ferris wheel. Most center axle designs use the axle to help break up and "turn" the compost as you are rotating the drum. This extra churning of the material is one of the ways to speed up the compost compared to a traditional composter.
Usually axle mounted tumbling composters cost less than the larger drum types. The Tumbleweed composter is a good size for one of these composters. It will hold about 58 gallons, which is enough material to get the compost heating and working, but not so much that it is difficult to turn. It's constructed of heavy duty UV-protected polypropylene plastic, so it will weather well.
Since the idea behind getting fast compost is to regularly turn the material over to get fresh material into the hot center of the bin, along with aerating the center of the pile, it's important to be able to turn it easly. One of the bigger problems with the axle mounted tumblers (or any other tumbler for that matter) is that once the composting material starts to decompose, it will become denser and have its center of gravity more towards the bottom, and it can be a little harder to turn. This is especially true as if you add water or rain gets in, and smaller framed people will have some difficulty turning it. Rain can get in on the end caps, especially if they aren't sealed well.
Finally, if the compost freezes up it can be very difficult to turn.
One other thing to note, which is true for almost any system that processes compost in batches is that once you start a batch, you need to queue the fresh composting material somewhere else, either in another compost bin like the Garden Gourmet composter or a compost crock or pail or something like that. If you keep adding fresh material you will not see finished compost in 3 or 4 weeks.
The legs on the stand look somewhat frail, but they seem to hold up well in actual use. One of the unique features of the Tumbleweed is the access on either end, which is quite helpful when loading or unloading. The height of the stand is a good one for emptying the finished compost into a cart or wheelbarrow.
The assembly is straightforward, basically all it takes is screwdriver and a few minutes of your time ( it has about 18 screws). The fact that it can be assembled saves on shipping costs.
Like any composting approach, it works best if you have the proper mix of green and brown materials, too much green (like all grass clippings) can create odors and a slimy mess, and too much brown just sits there and doesn't do much. And keeping the moisture level to that of a damp rag will keep it active as well.