How to Create Rich Humus in Weeks, not Years

As mentioned in an earlier post, our gardens pretty-much run on chopped leaves. We currently have 3 metal drum composters that are operating automatically-being powered by windshield wiper motors. We have two more of these automatic composters yet to be filled.
As much as we like not having to think about turning a barrel every day, after 3+ years of operating them, we are finding a few things that we do NOT like about them.
First, the round shape tends to roll material up into little (and not-so-little) balls. Breaking them open often reveals what looks like a malted milk ball- except the center is not filled with melt-in-your-mouth malted milk; it is filled with disgusting, anaerobic, slimy, foul-smelling material. These would make the ultimate stink bombs.
Second, being automatic, they tend to be neglected, unless there is something to add to them. Composting requires proper management of moisture, and green to brown ratios, at a minimum.
Third, they are a bit tricky to keep operating. There is an extension spring needed to keep proper tension on the belt, which can start slipping when the load becomes too heavy.
They are a challenge to build, and an even bigger challenge to explain how to build them. The parts are gleaned from recycling centers (junkyards), and therefore are variable. No two motor assemblies are the same.
Perhaps most important-and a reason I would never consider marketing them, or even selling plans to build them-is their potential to cause injury, should an inquisitive finger, foot, or the neighbor’s cat’s tail find its way between a chain and sprocket, or a belt and a pulley.
For all of these reasons, we have come full-circle, back to the simple, hand operated composters we had built decades ago; except for the circle part. Our new design is an octagon, both for ease of installing the most problematic part-the door- and to reduce the formation of stink bombs.
Watch the video below and let us know what you think. If you are local, stop by and take it for a spin.

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