Greetings everyone, last week’s article was regarding how to transition from synthetic growing into organically growing cannabis. Check it out here if interested: Organic vs. Synthetic – Today, I am going to give you organic growers out there that are fairly new to the growing game, some really great info that will seriously up your game baybee! The ol’ compost tumbler is one hell of a fantastic tool, and I’ll show you all how I use it, along with other ways to use it.
Compost Tumblers are Tough
You can get these in many sizes/capacities, but for today’s article we’ll deal with the 35-gallon size. Here’s a link to the next Compost Tumbler I am going to get as soon as mine finally bites the dust. It comes in two sizes, 35-gallons or 17-gallons. Now, I run these about 2/3rds full, so my 35-gallon tumbler actually composts about 20-22 gallons. The smaller one (17-gallon compost tumbler) would compost about 5-6 gallons at 2/3rds full.
I would recommend you get the 35-gallon size, because you can always make less in it, but you have the extra capacity if you need it. Or you could get two smaller compost tumblers if your specific needs warrant it.
There are a bazillion dynamics that can work great growing organically, using the compost tumbler can be stand alone, along with being sustainable. Seriously, if you just added a nice diverse bunch of stuff to compost, then cut your soil by about 40% with the compost, you could rock it using that alone and good water.
A Compost Tumbler as a Soil Recycling Unit
I use mine to recycle my growing soil at the same time I compost other stuff, like kitchen scraps etc. Above in the photo you can see some of my stored rootballs from harvested cannabis plants. The roots are full of tons of nutrients and are fantastic organic matter. Here’s how easy this is to do.
- Add rootballs and any compostable materials, like cannabis trim, and stems, along with other kitchen scraps. Bananas (peels especially) are excellent, so are coffee/tea grounds, cantaloupe rinds, rinsed off seaweed, egg shells, and so on.
- Add 1 cup of bone meal, ½ cup of blood meal, ½ cup bird/bat guano, ¼ cup langbeinite, and 1 ½ cups of dolomite lime. Langbeinite is made by Down to Earth brand organic fertilizers.
- Add ½ gallon of steer (or barnyard) manure, 2 cups raw rice, 1 cup crab meal, and 2 cups of alfalfa meal.
Just make sure it’s well moistened (not soaking wet), seal it up, and give your compost tumbler about 6 full turns. From then on, just give it at least one full turn every few days. That’s it baybee! The soil that comes out at the end will be super rich and grow phenomenal cannabis plants.
Compost Tumbler Timeline and Placement
The tumbler won’t be stinky as long as you spin it at least every few days, and where you place it outdoors will make a big difference on how long it will take to finish composting what’s inside. I like my tumblers to be black so they absorb heat from the sun, accelerating the composting process.
If your compost tumbler gets direct sun most of the day, your compost (or recycled soil) will be done within a couple of weeks. Otherwise, I would always let it go for 30 days, in the shade or in partial sunshine.
You could go fully “Bohemian” if you wanted to, and just add extraneous cannabis matter (stems and leaves) and kitchen scraps with your rootballs. However, I would still add the dolomite lime, the manure, the alfalfa, and the bone meal.
The recipe I gave you with all the amendments is designed to balance everything out and make a super potent soil for growing cannabis in. Before using your recycled soil, I would add some perlite—about a 10-15% cut with perlite, which would be about 3 gallons. You could also mix this in before composting, if you wanted to.
Afterword with Rev
Your recycled soil will be supernaturally alive with microbial life. Make sure to not use chlorinated water on this soil. If you put your compost tumbler in the shade it will probably last 10 years plus, in full sunshine more like 4 or 5 years.
In shade or partial sun, just let your tumbler do its thing for 30 days before taking the soil out and using it. In full sunshine it will be done within 15 days for reals.
Take it easy my green friends. I’ll catch you next week right back here at SKUNK! I just took a nice fall on my bicycle yesterday so I am writing this while convalescing. I sprained my ankle pretty bad and need crutches to walk around for a while, ugh. Hope you all are feeling better than me right now, heh heh. Cheers and good JuJu—L8r G8rs.
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.