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(22 Posts)
Jux Sun 11-Aug-13 15:09:40

I've found that our Council have a deal where you can buy a composter at a massive discount, so I'm going to get one. I have a couple of questions, and wondered if anyone can help.

1 how do they actually work?
2 do you have to dig up worms and put them in, or how do the worms actually get in?

AnythingNotEverything Sun 11-Aug-13 15:28:21

They're brilliant. Buy one (preferably two) and put it/them on soil rather than concrete. That way the bugs can get in.

Put all your raw fruit and veg based food waste in - peelings, fruit stones, orange peel etc, and garden waste except roots of nasties like dandelions and brambles - they don't break down and can spread weed seeds when you use the compost. Nothing cooked, no meat or dairy.

Basically, fill one bin. Empty it into the second bin (this can be hidden at the back of the garden as you don't need regular access). Strt filling first bin again. Leave second bin for 6 months (or turn regularly if you have the inclination!). Use a compost sieve to sift the lumps out (return these to the compost bin), and use the beautiful compost!


AnythingNotEverything Sun 11-Aug-13 15:30:21

Also, you have to have a good mix if what they call"brown" and "green" stuff - your council website should explain this. You need a balance so not piles and piles of grass cuttings, which just turn into a slimy mess. If your mixture is too "wet", you can add balled up newspaper or even shredded paperwork to "dry" it up.

It's dead easy - it just takes time!

fengirl1 Sun 11-Aug-13 15:32:44

Or add animal bedding such as straw / wood shavings if you have small pets! smile

Jux Sun 11-Aug-13 16:12:44

I think the thing we'll have most of is teabags! I didn't know you could put paper in, so I won't have to empty the teabags out?. Can we also put in more woody things - we have a camellia tree which need branches pruned....

AnythingNotEverything Sun 11-Aug-13 17:43:29

Tea bags are great (pre milk though!) and twigs are good - you might need to chop them up a bit. If you layer them, they create pockets of air which support the creatures which live inside.

You'd be surprised how much compostable stuff you have. We fill a work top bin at least weekly, plus I bring compost home from work. Much better than sending it to landfill.

onefewernow Sun 11-Aug-13 17:59:39

woody stuff, or anything really, should be shredded or cut up small if possible. The smaller, the quicker the results.

Jux Sun 11-Aug-13 19:33:40

Thank you all. I am very excited about it. The form is printed off and filled in and will be posted tomorrow.

Yippee!! No more lugging heavy bags of compost about!

ShoeWhore Sun 11-Aug-13 19:56:45

Have you got room for two bins ? We tend to fill one and leave that to rot while we fill the second.

It speeds things up if you turn it all over with a fork every now and then.

Loads of good suggestions re what to put in. I tend to play it v safe wrt weeds and don't put them in. Paper and cardboard are good.

cantspel Mon 12-Aug-13 15:34:09

Good way to get your compost started is to get your husband to wee in it

ParsingFancy Mon 12-Aug-13 15:42:57

Second the twiggy stuff to create air pockets. Ours is about 70% kitchen waste, 2% paper (including ripped up confidential stuff - safer than council recycling) and the rest garden waste.

All comes out the bottom rich, moist earthy stuff.

Just stirring it with a fork will do if you're not inclined to actually turn it over. And I rarely even do that.

NB teabags do contain a non-organic mesh, so you're left with tiny, disintegrating-but-not-composting nets. I just dig 'em into the garden, but some people are fussier.

loraflora Tue 13-Aug-13 17:43:58

Yes, they work well. I assume it's one of those plastic dalek-style ones? They are open at the base and the worms find their way in (along with all sorts of critters).

I'm not particularly picky about how I stack it but still end up with black stuff at the end. I have a tiny garden but if I had room would definitely buy two. Agree that tea bag mesh can be a bit of a pain though. I have just switched brand so I wonder if Yorkshire tea biodegrades better than Typhoo...

raelene Tue 10-Sep-13 12:54:29

Once you get started with composting you will be addicted. It doesn't have to be complicated. I wrote this Squidoo lens about composting which has straightforward easy to folllow info that you might find useful.

Jux Wed 11-Sep-13 19:27:09

I have been keeping a bucket by the sink to chuck egg shells, raw veg, apple cores in etc, all ready for composter, but last night was bin night and the bucket was full (tea bags at the bottom were going mouldy blush) so I had to put it all in the bin for the Council to take away. And this morning the voucher for my composter arrived and this afternoon we picked it up. It is out there with nothing to put in it aaaaaaaaaaaargh!

It's quite big though. I can't imagine filling it up.

Jux Thu 12-Sep-13 09:29:44

Another question.

Where dh wants the composter is all weeds. He says if we put some of that black fabric stuff down, then the weeds will die - they will - but will the composter still work?

cantspel Thu 12-Sep-13 12:18:45

I would not be putting full weeds in a new compost bin. You need the bin to get quite hot to kill off any seed and root or you will just be spreading them around your garden when you use your new compost.

You could put the green part in and just bin the root and seed heads. Or stick them in a bucket of water for a month or so before adding them.

cantspel Thu 12-Sep-13 12:20:50

and never put bindweed in as even a hot composter doesn't get hot enough to kill the root.

Jux Thu 12-Sep-13 13:07:26

Thank you. I persuaded dh to weed the spot first, so it's now just sitting there.

I put a few bits of screwed up newspaper in the bottom, then some prunings from the brambles and tomatoes, and some old dried out stuff which may have been roses once, but I can't remember! Then I put the kitchen waste in.

There might have been some tiny unripe to,atoes with the prunings, and the were seeds in the apple cores. Should I have taken them out.

cantspel Thu 12-Sep-13 17:02:40

No they will be fine but i have had potatoes grow from potato peelings which had shooted.

Dont forget to get your husband to pee the new compost as it is a great way to speed up the chemical process in the compost heap.

Jux Thu 12-Sep-13 17:58:59

Oooh yes! He'll enjoy that! It's also a great way to warn unwanted cats off, btw. DH marked the territory when we were getting visits from an unknown tom, and the tom didn't return after sensing the Great Alpha Male!

cantspel Thu 12-Sep-13 18:32:35

for some strange reason mine refuses to pee directly on the heap and we have compromised in that he will on demand (about once a month) pee in an old lenor bottle which i then have to tip into the compost.

Not my favorite job about the garden but cheaper than buying commercial compost maker.

Jux Thu 12-Sep-13 19:13:34

I've just told dh. He grinned from ear to ear. I think he is abnormally atavistic.

However, he's pointed out that the composter is quite high and at the age of 57 he can't achieve the same high arc of his teens and would need a ladder or stool, so I think he's going to do the pee in a bottle thing too (practise for real old age, I guess grin).

I shall not be mentioning that there are women who do the pouring from the bottle for their OHs though. wink

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