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how can I save my compost?

(18 Posts)
lighteningmcmama Sun 09-Mar-14 12:07:33


I've added mostly kitchen waste to it and a bit of shredded paper but not much. Hardly any garden waste, we don't have much apart from some leaves in the corner of the garden which I could clear and add?

Atm it's full of flies. Like, every time I open the lid about 100 small flies come out and hit you in the face, v grim.

I stopped adding to it about 3 weeks ago until I sort it out. Keep meaning to sort it but an 9weeks pregnant so low on list of priorities, but nonetheless I need to sort out soon. Our get dh to lol.

What shall we do?

lighteningmcmama Mon 10-Mar-14 16:23:24

Bump please help someone!

Mirage Mon 10-Mar-14 18:13:06

Sounds like fruit flies,they eat rotten plant matter.What is the problem with the compost? Is it too dry,too soggy,not rotting down? If you can tell us what is going wrong,we'll hopefully be able to put it

Ferguson Mon 10-Mar-14 19:23:53

Usually composting needs to be a large quantity, created quickly so it gets a chance to heat up. Little 'diddy' quantities will only attract the flies and probably go soggy and smelly (sorry!)

I have never used one, but the plastic composting containers may work better, and some councils do them at favourable prices (to encourage recycling).

Save up material, or get some from neighbours if they will help, then build the heap quickly. Cover with old carpet or similar, to keep heat in.

Also an electric shredder will take twigs, leaves, brambles etc and shred them up to go on the compost heap, but that will cost a bit.

ShoeWhore Mon 10-Mar-14 19:54:00

Do you have grass in your garden OP? It's hard to make decent compost without grass I think. A wormery is a better option if you don't have grass.

Our compost bin gets like that from time to time if there isn't enough garden waste in it. Usually chucking some grass clippings on sorts it out. The leaves would be good too and more shredded (or roughly torn up) paper or ripped up cardboard might help. You basically need a good mix of different things. Give it a good turn with a garden fork too.

hardtostayfocused Mon 10-Mar-14 19:58:15

Squashed up loo roll tubes and egg boxes (better than recycling them too).

Leave the lid open so the flies don't hit you in the face?

lighteningmcmama Mon 10-Mar-14 20:44:57

Thanks all!

The bin is an old plastic lidded bin that I sawed a hole in in the bottom (and tried to saw a little door at the bottom too but that didn't work.)

Before I had this problem, I was adding compost maker on each new layer that I added, and mixing it, so roughly every 2 weeks it was getting mixed.

But there isn't much waste in there it's probably a quarter full. We have no grass, the bin is on a border. We also don't have much garden waste because I'm new to whole gardening malarkey and so the borders are pretty much uncultivated! And the main garden is paved (and unsightly but that's another story)

It looks pretty wet I think.

When I started the compost bin I did see some waste starting to turn into compost in the middle but now it just looks like rotten fruit n.veg

So where should I start? I don't know how to get enough volume of waste to get the heat going

Where do I get worms from?

Is shredded paper and cardboard enough to provide a mix of waste?

Thanks again!

ShoeWhore Mon 10-Mar-14 22:10:11

Some good advice here

ShoeWhore Mon 10-Mar-14 22:18:37

and here

lighteningmcmama Thu 13-Mar-14 20:12:27

Thanks everyone. I've been shredding paper today and I'm going to stockpile it until I have a decent amount to add in one go. Hopefully that will get things moving! Will also start saving egg boxes and loo roll middles..thank you for the really useful links shorwhore

PigletJohn Thu 13-Mar-14 20:38:07

to get worms, dig a bit of soil out of the garden and sprinkle it on the layers. A compost heap or bin should preferably be in contact with the ground, not on a platform, so the worms can get in and out.

the fruit flies will not hurt you, but it sounds like you have not got a big enough heap to heat up.

An alternative to a heap, is to dig a trench, put organic material at the bottom, as it builds up, lengthen the trench a bit and throw the new earth onto the organic matter. You will not get flies as the material is buried and will rot fairly quickly. Potato peelings are a problem as they may sprout and carry disease. This method does not heat up.

vanillamum Sat 15-Mar-14 22:24:34

Also if you chuck a bit of piss on it it gets things going nicely...honest its the nitrogen in the urine. Works best if you have a toddler then you can just empty a potty onto it. Probably for your compost 1 potty once a week, it wont smell like public loos.

Fishandjam Sat 15-Mar-14 22:38:43

YY to the wee, and to bulking it out with shredded paper/cardboard. Also try to turn it/toss it about a bit; it'll get the air in it that way. (Anaerobic decomposition is what makes it slimy and stinky.) I wouldn't worry about the flies, they're obviously happy and are all part of Nature's cycle <treehugger emoticon>. Maybe leave the lid at an angle if you really don't like them?

Fishandjam Sat 15-Mar-14 22:40:07

PS you do not need a hot heap to get compost - mine usually aren't hot. It just takes longer.

TiggyCBE Sat 15-Mar-14 22:46:17

Sounds like it's only got soggy stuff in. Kitchen waste tends to be soggy, paper gets wet and goes soggy, adding grass clipping would just add more sog. You need woodier stuff. more like straw. It's the time to get rid of last year's growth on herbaceous plants to let this year's new growth take over. That would be perfect!

Don't add the leaves. They take a year to rot down. They're best on their own, but they will make the best stuff you can get.

lighteningmcmama Sun 16-Mar-14 10:55:33

Thanks for all your advice!

I will definitely add some worms/soil. When I set up the bin I read to add a layer of twigs on the bottom for aeration but now I'm wondering if that's stopping the worms? Having said that though, in the early days there was definitely a small mound of compost formed around the hole in the bottom...

I can't do the wee thing, I just can't....I'm struggling with nappy changes as it is, it makes me want to vomit....And I don't expect this sickness to go soon going by my previous pregnancies sad

I'm confused now about the cardboard and shredded paper thoughif it will just continue to be soggy...have been stockpiling cardboard and shredding paper top add it all in one go, I have a small bin bag full and can get one more bin bag full, maybe that sorry of quantity will not go soggy?

I have no garden waste- we only have uncultivated borders around paved garden, and I'm slowly working on getting the borders done, but it's slow progress

TiggyCBE Sun 16-Mar-14 11:52:43

You need a mix of soggy and stick-like/straw type stuff. The latter helps keep air pockets open and lets gasses out. Too much card and paper will make a soggy solid layer that no air can get past and go too slimey. It's your boarders that have the good stuff. I suggest recycling your card and paper.

lighteningmcmama Sun 16-Mar-14 15:21:56

I don't have any stick like stuff in our garden. When I say it's uncultivated I mean it's literally just mud and a few weeds (which I heard are not good for compost). So should I just give up?

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