Rotating Composting Barrel aeration ?

My husband just created a composting barrel for me from a large 55 gallon barrel that pivots on it's mid section . We need to know how many air holes to drill ? Any ideas?

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  • Debbie,

    We have a two 55 barrel composting system where I am living in Washington. barrels are mounted on a frame that is tall enough to let a wheel barrow underneath. The barrels are situated on four little tires, so the barrels can be turn with the use of handles, but are not actually attached to the wooden structure.

    Our aeration tubes are 2 inch diameter sewage (black) pvc pipes with 1/4 IN holes. about 80 holes per tube. the tubes run in a sort of double helix patter (two opposite turning spirals) around the pipe. We use 1/4 inch holes to minimize the amount of compost that gets through, and have many holes to insure as much air as possible gets in. no amount of air is really too much, and as much as you can get in is probably not enough.

    Here is a link to the communities blog post about the barrels. It provides less specific info, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Finishing the Double-Barreled Compost Machine
  • hi debbie,
    the more aeration the better. lots of holes. i got mine from the city of phx too and am thinking of drilling a few more holes in it. (i also took the lid off and turned it upside down) the tumbler that your hubby made is very nice!
  • I bought my composting barrel from the City of Phoenix (for $5, by the way). It's made from the top half of the recycling containers used throughout the city, about 3 ft. tall. They drilled holes top to bottom of 6" apart and from left to right (or around the container) about 12" apart. I've just started composting so I can't give you firsthand results but I assume that the City folks built these on reliable information from their gardening department. Hope it helps.
    • Thanks that is the only info I know so we might just go with it..
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