Where to Place Compost Tumbler [Sun or Shade]

  • By: Melissa
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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You have your compost materials ready; all the components are in the tumbler in the right combination. All that is left is the decomposing process and then spread it in the garden when it is ready.

Compost Tumbler Sun or Shade

But let’s slow a little; where is the best place to place it? Should you put your compost tumbler in the sun or shade?

To get the best-finished compost, you need an environment that is damp and not wet. Also, at the same time, you need warmth in the right condition for the microbes, earthworms, bacteria, and all the organisms needed in making your compost bins to garden gold.

Under the Sun

Placing a compost tumbler under the sun is a good idea. The sun’s heat will help make sure the decomposing process is faster compared to when it is under a shade. Similarly, placing the composter under the sun may make new content to dry faster, which will affect the decomposition.

To ensure you have the right wetness, you can add water once in a while to make compost that will enrich your soil.

When you position your tumblers under the sun, you will need less carbon material as the carbon materials help dry the compost, and in this case, the sun is doing that.

Compost In The Sun

To get compost that is ready to use, and get it at the right time, there is a certain heat degree that the compost tumbler should maintain. In this case, the heat inside the bin should be around 130 to 150 degrees.

If the heat in your bin reaches 170 degrees, it will result in destroying elements needed in the process, and hence you won’t get the best quality of compost.

Under the Shade

Placing your tumblers under the shade is not also a bad idea. The location is cool so that the decomposing process will be slow, but you will have access to remarkable benefits.

Under the shade, the composter will be damp at all times. In this case, consider adding more carbon-rich ingredients to the system like sawdust, dried leaves, and cardboard to help in the drying process.

Also, to ensure the composting materials in your compost bin compost decomposes evenly to ensure you turn to mix the brown materials with the green material, they will produce the right amount of nutrients needed in the garden.

Deciding Where to Place a Compost Tumbler

Location’s Temperature

You need an average heat in your composter for effective decomposition. Low heat levels will make the whole composting process slow, while high heat levels will destroy the organs required in the process, and hence it will interfere with the results.

The temperature in the region you are in is one factor you should have in mind. If the area is too cold, then placing the compost in the shade is the best idea as you will protect it from wind and snow.

But when you are using a compost tumbler, the compost is protected from the wind, but the snow will still bring up some issues.

Placing Tumbler in Cold Areas

During winter, you should place the compost tumblers in the shade. To fasten the composting process, you should consider using compost materials that are nitrogen-rich, like the kitchen waste with fruit scraps and coffee grounds, and other food waste.

They will help fasten the composting process.

The microorganisms responsible for breaking down the pile to a rich compost require a relatively high temperature. On the other hand, too much heat will destroy the microorganisms.

Compost Tumbler in Warm Areas

For those in warm regions, it is advisable to do both the shade and sun to make sure you get the right amount of heat. Also, high heat from the sun can deform the compost tumblers as they are made from plastic.

You can consider putting the tumbler under a partial shade as there will be heat reaching the compost but not the heat that can destroy the plastic tumbler or cause a fire.

Compost Tumbler Composting Process Speed

Whenever you want to save up on composting time, it would be best if you placed your compost bin in the sun. This is because compost tumblers in direct contact with the sun’s rays speed up the composting process.

The heat from the sun raises the tumbler’s heat level. The heat encourages microbes in the compost bin to increase their working speed.

The microbes responsible for aiding the sun can raise the amount of heat inside the compost bin, encouraging the beneficial microorganisms to work faster. Microbes thrive best at hotter temperatures; therefore, they are more active under the sun’s heat.

The downside to direct sun exposure is overheating or burning of the compost heap.

Compost Tumbler Composting Process

However, if you position your tumbler under a shade, the decomposing speed does not increase. You will avoid overheating but spend more time before the composting is finished.

Putting the tumbler under the shade requires you to have your pitchfork ready for frequent use. You must ensure that you turn the material regularly so that the microbes can work on all parts of your compost pile.

For effective decomposition that doesn’t stress you out, have your tumbler partially exposed to the sun. With partial exposure, you only need about three weeks to have your compost pile ready.

Level of Moisture in Your Pile

Whenever you expose your tumbler to direct sunlight, you will often find that the sun sucks the moisture from the pile.

If there is little or no observable moisture, you need to cut the tumbler’s direct sunlight exposure. This is because the microbes will get dehydrated, meaning the decomposition process will be slower.

How to Control Moisture Level

If you want pleasing results, removing the bin from the sun will not cut it. You must keep adding water to the material in your compost tumblers creating an accommodating environment for the microbes.

However, you must water the compost pile evenly to avoid uneven decomposition.

If you put the tumbler under the shade for too long, you create an environment that dampens the compost pile.  Whenever the moisture rises to an inappropriate level, the brown material in your pile appears matted.

Additionally, you will get an ammonia smell when you move closer to the tumbler. For this reason, it would help if you balance the time your timber spends under a shade and direct sunlight exposure.

Bonus Video: Is It Best to Compost in the Sun or the Shade?


Getting the right conditions for the compost is essential as it helps in coming up with rich compost and takes a short time.

At the same time, you should place the compost in a strategic position away from people to ensure their health.

Also, you should check the local regulations regarding compost bins. From the above information, it’s easy for you to make an informed decision on the best location to place your tumbler.