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Basic guide to composting needed please.

(7 Posts)
twinsetandpearls Tue 05-Aug-08 00:00:22

New house has a compost heap going. What can i put on it. What can i not put on it. What should i end up with?

misi Tue 05-Aug-08 11:47:56

don't put cooked food into the bin unless you have a wormery type. I have always been told not to put rose bush prunings etc in as the bin will not get warm enough to destroy any diseases like black spot etc. leaves are said to need a separate container as they compost differently but I put fallen leaves in the autumn into my bin but spread them around and not too many at one time (last year I had so many tree leaves I bagged them up into black bin bages and added some every week) I also add a bit of paper every so often, grass clippings if not to many at a time, and egg shells, paper egg boxes. the books will say you should expect a crumbly sweet smelling compost, but in my experience you never will but you can get a good mix with care of your bin.

this is a reasonable site to look at;
http://www.recyclenow.com/home_composting/composting/index.html

twinsetandpearls Tue 05-Aug-08 15:07:02

Thanks am a bit confused as their is what looks like a compost heap in a wooden container which is open. It has in it mainly banana skins, grass and tea bags. There is also a plastic container which at the moment is empty. There has been fresh compost put on the garden which i assume has come from the plastic bin.

misi Tue 05-Aug-08 21:22:28

tea bags are very good for the compost bin, full of nitrogen which is what is needed to breakdown the material. banana skins good too for several minerals and potassium., grass.. be careful it doesn't putrefy which is what it does if the grass layer is too thick or poorly aerated. I have a compost aerator. it is a pole that when inserted into the compost and pulled back out, 2 tines flip out to grab the compost and so if you insert, turn and pull, it aerates the compost nicely.
the open wooden one will be good for leaves as leaves decompose differently to other stuff, just cover the top loosely with a piece of old carpet to keep the worst of the rian out. the plastic bin, if it has an open bottom and is placed on the ground and not a concrete slab, will encourage worms to come up and live in the bin to help speed up decomposition, and instead of having to wait 9 months over winter for compost, mine takes around 6 weeks, even when its cold!! (earlier this year I had so many worms that the bin looked like it had worms only in it and no compost, the blackbirds nesting in the wisteria had many good meals and I still have a lot of worms in there still.

twinsetandpearls Wed 06-Aug-08 10:16:01

Thanks misi. So the grass,tea bags and bananas should I transfer them to the plastic bin. It does have an open bottom.

misi Wed 06-Aug-08 13:04:39

yes, don't see why not unless you think they are diseased at all? don't expect too much too start as it will take time for any worms to come up and for the decomposing process to start as for this there is a ''critical mass' before the bin will be warm enough for the bugs to start working that break down the matter. ordinary garden worms won't be of use for cooked food though so no cooked food in your bin, special worms, tiger worms I think they are called are needed for cooked food. you can buy table top wormerys for cooked food if you wish, excellent things they are.

twinsetandpearls Wed 06-Aug-08 17:30:43

Thanks. We may look into a wormery as well.

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