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How do you use a compost bin?

(16 Posts)
WhatToDo99 Thu 30-Mar-17 13:56:02

Like this one? I know you put the bits to compost in the top, and then stir it now and again, but then how do you get the actual compost out?

JonesyAndTheSalad Fri 31-Mar-17 02:07:38

You physically turn in when it's broken down a lot...then the bottom layer gets a chance to break down too.

JonesyAndTheSalad Fri 31-Mar-17 02:07:51

Turn IT...not "in". With a fork.

Out2pasture Fri 31-Mar-17 02:22:58

I think that pile of compost needs work.
Twigs will not break down effectively.
It looks dry and really compacted down.
It will need some thinning, lime, and hard work with a pitch fork.

JonesyAndTheSalad Fri 31-Mar-17 02:32:04

Oh I thought that was just a generic pic...I didn't realise it was actually the OPs.

shovetheholly Fri 31-Mar-17 07:48:02

People make composting sound really difficult, but it's not.

Basically, you need a mixture of two things, which are called greens and browns.

Greens = kitchen waste, green and soft bits of plants, grass clippings. (Do not put cooked food in the bin. It will attract rats.) These supply nitrogen.

Browns = paper, sawdust, card, paper (I get rid of my confidential waste this way!), woody bits of plants (but not twigs - they won't break down fast enough). These supply carbon.

Ideally you want a ratio of 2 parts greens to 1 part brown - this gives really good, quick decomposition and produces a nice fluffy compost at the end.

It is a good idea to chop up everything that comes off the garden before adding it to the pile. When I am tidying or weeding, I just put everything I'm getting rid of in a trug, then I get my shears and chop it very roughly for a few seconds. Bruising and cutting it really gets it to decompose more rapidly.

You need to turn the pile to keep it going. I just lift up the container, leaving the contents on the floor, put it down in a spot that's next door to where it was, then fork the contents back in. In the process, you tend to hit a layer at the bottom that is fully ready to go, which you can remove and use!

JonesyAndTheSalad Fri 31-Mar-17 08:09:09

And never put meat of any kind in your compost either.

RedBugMug Fri 31-Mar-17 08:13:19

you fill it up and wait.
you could turn it, but if you are lazy like me you could just get a second one to fill up when the first one is full.
the when that is full as well the first compost should be 'ready' and you can put it on your beds and fill a bucket/sack with some to use for pots.

RedBugMug Fri 31-Mar-17 08:14:18

Ideally you want a ratio of 2 parts greens to 1 part brown - this gives really good, quick decomposition and produces a nice fluffy compost at the end.
yes, but that usually happens automatically when gardening.

shovetheholly Fri 31-Mar-17 08:22:31

I find I have to add the occasional bit of paper/card to mine - it has a tendency to go slimy. I think the fact that it's in a less than ideal corner of the garden is partly to blame though - hard to find a warm spot in a north-facing garden smile

MsUnderstanding Fri 31-Mar-17 21:06:32

I put the contents of my vacuum cleaner in mine. I'll probably find lots of Hama beads and lego in my compost in a couple of years 😀

MsUnderstanding Fri 31-Mar-17 21:11:00

shovetheholly my "magic bin" stops working in colder weather. It's currently filled right to the top, I'm hoping the magic will resume again as it gets warmer.

whataboutbob Fri 31-Mar-17 21:11:03

Add wee too. It speeds it up. I have a wee in my shed in a bucket and chuck it on every week or so.

Palomb Sat 01-Apr-17 08:04:56

If you know anyone with rabbits or guinea pigs their bedding makes great compost.

Anything twiggy needs to go through a shredder.

WhatToDo99 Sat 01-Apr-17 08:08:14

Thanks - all really useful tips! So I basically have to pick the whole thing up and put it down somewhere else to release the composty goodness inside when it's ready.

That is my bin. I'm just putting the branches from some shrubs I'm pulling up there at the moment as a temporary measure until our new green bin arrives for garden waste. We've only recently moved in and this is my first proper garden hence the compost bin ignorance!

Thanks for your help!

ChuckDaffodils Sat 01-Apr-17 08:16:06

If I had that compost bin, and I realise it is probably not your compost bin OP.

I'd remove all the twiggy bits and using a shredder or secateurs, chop it into smaller pieces. I chop ALL my twiggy stuff into 2-4 inch lengths as I prune so it is always going in small in the first place. I'd use a pitch fork to get all the uncomposted stuff off the top. Then, at the bottom will be composted stuff, pitch fork or dig that out into trugs/a wheelbarrow to use.

then put all the uncomposted stuff back in making sure you mix it and chop it as you go.

With the composted stuff, I'd sieve it. Removing as many worms back into the bin, and anything left in the sieve, back into the pile.

going forward, chop everything as small as you have time or inclination to do. Never put in greens without browns [so add shredded paper, crumpled newspaper, torn up paper, cardboard torn up etc] and also add in anything else that will help to kick start things so coffee grounds, tea bags, comfrey, nettles [not the seeds], male wee - are all good activators. Then make sure you turn it as often as you have inclination to do by going back to the first step of pitching everything out and back in again.

Better still is to lift the whole contraption off the heap, move it next to the heap and pitch everything on the top into the new empty bin. At the bottom is the stuff to de-worm and sieve. But the one in the picture isn't the easiest to move. Perhaps with two of you.

Also consider that all the goodness and nutrition is soaking into soil you will never use, if you have a heap that is away from where you are growing stuff. My top tip is to move your compost bin to the place where you are going to actually need nutrition. Then when you move it about, your soil gets a top up of nutrients as you compost. Then you don't need to sieve, you just rake the soil over, pick out any bigger uncomposted bits, and let the worms make their own way into the bin. Compost where you next need it - situational composting. Much easier on the back.

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