A: It is too cold now for bacteria and fungi to break down stuff in your tumbler. Winter high temperatures in Atlanta average in the 50s. The microbes involved in composting like temperatures in the 60s or higher. The black color of your compost bin helps to absorb heat during the day, but I’m sure it gets cold at night. Depending on how much raw material you have each day, digging holes and burying kitchen compostables makes a lot of sense. You can dig a compost hole 12 inches deep and 18 inches wide and get a metal garbage can lid to cover it. If you see that critters dig around the edge, get a heavier lid or put a cinder block on top. You can start using your compost tumbler in April when night temperatures are rising. Keep it in the sun and don’t let the stuff inside dry out. Tumble it a couple of times a week and rich compost will be yours.
Q: After World War II, I helped my Australian uncle clear tree stumps by digging underneath so he could place a charge of explosive gelignite. I would often hit a hard taproot, the gelignite would be off-center, and the stump would be only partially removed. Yet I read on your website that trees don’t have taproots. What did I hit under the eucalyptus stumps? John Stafford, email