Compost Tumbler

Dear Martin

We have one of the Compost Tumblers that you advertise on page 109 of your most recent catalogue.
There is no doubt that it works well, we have had it several years now, but struggle with one facet!
Has anyone solved the problem of how to easily empty it? Do you know a way, is there a suggestion of what we can slide under to catch the goodies? Is there a way of holding the drum in a horizontal line, so that one person can scoop out?
Any thoughts please?!
Many thanks,

Dear Derek

Many thanks for your recent message regarding an easy and efficient way to empty the 220 litre Compost Tumbler. I’ve used one of these valuable home composting systems for a number of years at own Harrod Horticultural Kitchen Garden  to good effect and I’ve got a couple of suggestions which might help you...

Firstly, a tarpaulin or sheet of stiff cardboard placed on the ground beneath the tumbler has proved effective for me. You’ll need a decent sized sheet as the material can start to jump free of the composter as the drum is rotated into a vertical position and should the material fall quickly from the upturned vessel, you’ll need to pull the sheet along to spread the compost and prevent the drum from blocking up. I’ve used this method extensively in the Kitchen Garden and it works!

I’ve also spent plenty of time contemplating (most gardeners do!) the possibility of raising the composter up on two mini brick-built walls to create an ‘unloading bay’ beneath, large enough to allow a bucket, trug or even a wheelbarrow to be placed underneath. Similar to the problem faced by trying to fill a watering can from a water butt when a stand hasn’t been used, this solution takes a bit more time and effort to achieve but the result would be very effective. Although I have never actually constructed such a bay, I’ve certainly given it plenty of thought and can see no obvious problems!

I think there’s plenty of mileage in your proposal to hold the tumbler in a horizontal position for emptying as well. You’d probably need to have a couple of sturdy ‘chocks’ on hand to prop the bin on the horizontal where emptying it would be a simple task – this represents a quick and effective method of obtaining your compost.

I hope the above suggestions either provide a solution or at least give you some ideas for emptying the tumbler but if you’ve any further questions or queries, or any other ideas you’d like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Many thanks once again for your enquiry and best of luck with your home composting activities.