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Composting ......

(16 Posts)
Crystaltips Mon 15-May-06 17:35:56

I have just cleared a patch in my garden and now I have a spot for a compost "area" ... hooorah !

Question is .... what do I put in there ....
* Slatted box things
* Plastic bins ...

Am I right in thinking that I should have more than noe .... something to do with rotating the compost bins .....

Sooo confused .... AND what goes in them ..

I gather too much grass is a no no ..

What else am I not allowed to put in ( I know the obvious ... like meat and stuff ) but some say that tea bags are a psin to break down ...

I have so many questions ... but I'd better shut up as this is a bit of a ramble !

Thanks

twocatsonthebed Mon 15-May-06 17:53:19

Hmm, I used to have one compost heap, and turned it every 6 months or so, but two is definitely easier (fill one, use the other, swap, repeat).

Slatted box things are prettier, but currently our council is offering compost bins for £4 a pop, which may decide you (I will try and find the link in a min).

Grass is fine, as long as you layer it with other stuff (or just have a separate grass heap, it takes longer, but doesn't need a bin). I've never found teabags a problem, the only thing that never rotted was avocado stones. Coffee grounds v good, too.

But I'm sure far more knowledgable gardeners will be along in a min

twocatsonthebed Mon 15-May-06 17:55:25

and this is the place to get cheap compost bins if your council does them - and has a guide to compost, incl celebrity composting. best thing to do with them if you ask me...

ediemay Mon 15-May-06 17:57:04

Have a look at the CAT website, www.cat.org.uk
Every so often, throw in a piece of torn tissue paper or kitchen paper - really helps to break evrything down.

shazronnie Mon 15-May-06 18:05:18

I have had a plastic bin for 2 years, and only just had to move it cos it was full.

My new thing is a worm factory, so I can compost all my cooked waste, bread, etc as well.

Pruni Mon 15-May-06 18:31:09

Message withdrawn

Callmemadam Mon 15-May-06 18:57:11

Hi crystaltips: I'd say definately get the subsidised council daleks if you can, and the only no no is cooked food or meat as rats will appear! Just bung everything in, layering grasscuttings with everything else, and the trick is to chuck a bucket of water in once in a while to keep the humidity up. Every so often put a fork in and jiggle it about a bit, and cut up lumpy stuff before you add it as it breaks down quicker. I keep a small bin in the kitchen and snip stuff into that. In a hot summer it will compost in a couple of months or so. To use it you fill it up then (apart from the water etc) leave it for a couple of months then empty from the bottom, taking what you want and chucking the half composted stuff back in. Then take any half composted stuff from the 2nd bin and add it to your first iyswim, so you have a) a useable heap of soil conditioner to chuck in tubs/mulch plants with/add to borders etc, b) a full bin of semi rotted stuff breaking down and c) the bin you are chucking the newest stuff into. It is possible to get quite evangelical about composting, and the more effort you put in to stirring it all up the more successful you'll be! If you have a big garden by the way (mine is 2 acres+) and have lots of fallen leaves etc then use the same principle but make 12' x 12' bins with chicken wire and get ready for some hard labour with a fork!- Good luck.

Crystaltips Mon 15-May-06 19:02:57

I knew this could turn into an art form

pesme Mon 15-May-06 19:06:30

when dd and her little friends pee in teh potty in the garden i tip it in as an accelerator. works a treat!

Crystaltips Mon 15-May-06 19:09:04

hovely Tue 16-May-06 08:31:48

However, if you put in mainly kitchen waste peelings fruit etc, and not much in the way of leaves or garden waste, you end up as I have with a putrid stinking squelchy mass with flies in it.
Whether you need more moisture or less depends on what you have put in it. I should have added more 'brown' waste ie dry stuff like leaves, paper, cardboard, and less 'green' waste ie peelings, grass etc. But the desirable ratio is quite high - I read 15:1 brown:green on one site - and my garden is very small so it simply doesn't generate enough of the 'brown' waste.
I have now bought a wormery which I think may be a better solution for our needs, and have turned my heap over (the neighbours were asking each other whether the drains were blocked ) so perhaps it will recover.

Bozza Tue 16-May-06 15:11:47

I have just started ours. Well it's been going since Easter. I have been putting in kitchen waste (fruit/veg peelings), some leaves that I had in bin bags from the autumn, one lot of grass clippings, a few ripped up egg cartons and toilet rolls. Do you think it could do with some more brown? Would shredded paper be a good idea?

Bozza Tue 16-May-06 15:12:26

Just not sure how brown the leaves are by this point IYSWIM.

Eeek Tue 16-May-06 15:21:32

shredded paper is great for compost heaps and wormeries. there's some great information at the HDRA site here

I've just taken the first harvest from my wormery and I'm feeling all evangelical about it. The 'worm wee' has been keeping everything very happy in the mean time

Bozza Tue 16-May-06 15:36:03

Great. DH works from home and we have a full size shredder. Was just a bit worried by hovely's post. And surely some flies (smallish ones) is normal?

Callmemadam Tue 16-May-06 18:05:49

Bozza, yes, small flies are normal. The putrid slimey problem usually happens when grass is chucked in more than about 1" thick, as it gives off huge quantities of something - nitrogen, I think - which b**rs up the eco-balance. Adding prunings, deadheading etc also helps the balance. Your local council should have a free leaflet which explains it all. Hovely, do you mind me asking if you were using a green bin or not?

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