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Composting
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tootyfruitypickle · 08/05/2020 07:08

I’m thinking about starting composting. I’ve just moved to the countryside from a big city and noticed that none of my neighbours here put out food bins, I think they’re all composting!

However I am v worried about rats! I have a fairly small but wide garden. I’ve looked at green Johanna but that doesn’t seem completely rat proof ? Reviews are a bit mixed. The other idea is to get a bokashi as first stage and then empty into the green Johanna? This would get around the rat problem? The green Johanna is discounted via the council so works about the same as getting 2 bokashis (tho do you still need to wait 2 weeks before emptying bokashi into compost?)

My garden is very very sandy, so is going to need a ton of compost digging in, esp as I want to grow veg, so this would presumably pay for itself fairly quickly. Just not sure if my system outlined above is right?

Thanks!

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VictoriaBun · 08/05/2020 07:18

We have 3 Johannes and they are at least 5 years old and we have never had rats.
As you probably already know you can put cooked food in them as well. We do not eat meat , so I don't know if that is a factor in not having a rat problem.
I don't know if you know much about composting but you have to get a good mix of green and brown. Green being veg waste, weeds, grass clippings etc
Brown is more your dried leaves, paper, cardboard.
We have a paper shreader and all the paper from that goes into the compost . We also put all coffee grounds and tea bags in it as well. You even have to water it sometimes !

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tootyfruitypickle · 08/05/2020 07:24

I am a total beginner with all things gardening! Just moved to country after a divorce and very happy to take on a new obsession! So this sounds like a green Johanna would be fine - are they complicated to get the mix right ?

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tootyfruitypickle · 08/05/2020 07:26

I would have plenty of both brown and green waste I think. I’m just fed up of buying endless bags of compost that disappear as I dig them in! I’ve created a flower border and now looking at creating a veg plant and the area there is particularly sandy hence I started looking at composting. This year I’ll just be growing lettuce, but would like to expand next year.

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tootyfruitypickle · 08/05/2020 07:28

The only meat I would have to go in would be cat food. Quite a lot of it due to elderly cat being very picky.

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VictoriaBun · 08/05/2020 07:35

Oh yes ! I'd forgotten about cat food - we put that in as well !
Ours are stored under trees ,as they compost they get warm so are better put in a cooler area in the garden. Don't put too much grass clippings in as a solid mass, as they like a bit of air about it as well , hence the paper shreadings . Tbh they are very forgiving and you can pretty much chuck anything in them !

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tootyfruitypickle · 08/05/2020 07:38

Great ok. I have to admit I suspect the cat food might create maggots in the summer because sometimes it’s down a couple of hours while the lady decides if she wants it ... but I guess if it does I can just dispose of it separately in the council caddy that gets collected.

Good to know you’ve not had a problem with rats! Thanks

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MereDintofPandiculation · 08/05/2020 12:44

I've got normal compost heaps, and we don't have a rat problem - I put that down to cats.

I find a smear of expensive catmeat over the catmeat that's been refused (or a scattering of those crispy bits from Felix sensations) means that not only the "nice" cat food is eaten but also a layer of the rejected food, then a bit more "nice" food gets rid of the rest. But our cats may be stupider than yours.

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tootyfruitypickle · 08/05/2020 14:20

Yes I’ve tried that , what seems to work best is hand feeding !! Shes 19, bless her.

We will one day have more cats, so I am hoping that will deal with any rat problem that may build up!!

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ppeatfruit · 08/05/2020 15:08

I have hedgehogs , birds, etc etc. a few mice that the cats remove. Oh and I have 4 compost heaps I don't get this 'thing' about rats ( humans carry more diseases) they recycle very efficiently. Some people 'show' them.

If you're in the country, live and let live I say. Rats were here thousands and thousands of years before us. They're everywhere anyway.,in cities too. I don't welcome them in the house though., I repel them with mint sprays.

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growinggreyer · 08/05/2020 15:15

Bokashi is very effective. I have a kitchen caddy on the go all the time and when it is full it goes outside to pickle for a month or two then I make a soil factory from a cardboard box and whatever soil or compost I have to hand. The resulting compost smells great and is always full of nice fat worms. We have a big hedge so I can hide the box under the greenery. The pickling smell seems to keep cats and mice away.

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MrsJoshNavidi · 08/05/2020 15:18

are they complicated to get the mix right ?

No. You can put any old crap in and get great compost out. It's like magic! (Seriously)

Both our compost bins contain families of slow worms.

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ppeatfruit · 09/05/2020 09:22

Oooh slow worms I wonder what I'd have to add to my wildlife garden. I've got a newish pond with no life at the moment, or the compost heaps to get them? MrsJosh

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MrsJoshNavidi · 09/05/2020 11:11

We put all garden waste and all peeling, manky veg etc from the kitchen in ours. Also tea bags and egg shells.
We back on to a woods so in don't know if that's a factor.

I think the slow worms like the heat. Compost generates an awful lot of heat.

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MereDintofPandiculation · 09/05/2020 11:41

Yes I’ve tried that , what seems to work best is hand feeding !! Shes 19, bless her. Oh dear! DH has discovered his cat rather likes having her neck stroked while eating. FTFAGOS!

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tootyfruitypickle · 09/05/2020 12:57

I've just been digging over the border area I want to use as a veg patch and the soil is not good. It's very sunny dry, sandy and I haven't seen a single worm! (unlike the back border where there tons but it was under grass - I'm using this for flowers) . There are lots of big roots as well that I've cut back as I uncover them. I'm going to rake it over next and add the rest of the bought compost that I have and leave it on top as a mulch (2 bags so not a huge amount!).

Now my question is - should I carry on with my plan of getting a green johanna and place it in the opposite, shady side and add compost to the poor soil as it becomes available throughout the autumn /winter - or should I be thinking about a green cone onto the proposed patch area instead so that the feed goes directly and immediately into the soil? I'm veering still to the green johanna I think but wondering if the purpose of the green cone is actually for this type of situation?

Meanwhile I'm going to grow some veg in tubs !

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ppeatfruit · 09/05/2020 12:59

Thanks MrsJosh We live by and have rather a lot of trees\woods in our garden ! Maybe I need to wait.

Mere Did you mean to post in the Litter tray thread? ! Grin

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tootyfruitypickle · 09/05/2020 13:03

I think @mere and I are having a slightly tangential discussion about cats on here!

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ppeatfruit · 09/05/2020 13:16

Oh yes thanks tooty Grin sorry Mere Grin Our elderly female cat will ignore any OLD food and will even yowl in an offended manner if DH puts fresh food on a 'dirty' plate. It's a shame because she now has 3 legs. she used to be a brilliant mouser. Our housed stray is good hunter outside with the mice but has a habit of bringing the buggers inside proudly! Sometimes alive .

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Berthatydfil · 09/05/2020 13:45

I have a 2 of the dalek composter which grass cuttings leaves etc go into - I have just turned over the contents and put the rotted down compost into the garden and anything not fully composted I turned over and put back. They do get full when the lawn is getting mown more frequently so we do sometimes put them out for collection by the council.
I also have a wormery and I usually put the bottom tray into the daleks as well to finish off.
I have just bought a bokashi system as I was finding the worms weren’t eating everything so my plan is Bokashi then worms then dalek if required. I have read that the bokashi liquor also helps compost breakdown so I’m hoping it will speed up the grass cuttings breaking down.
I have the opposite problem my soil has a high clay content.

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ppeatfruit · 10/05/2020 15:50

Bertha I find that leaving the grass cuttings on the grass ( I won't say lawn, because I have a wild life garden I don't go for perfection) BUT the cuttings disappear quickly and leave my grass healthy, and not affected by draught for very long. We leave the daisies too , the bees are soo pleased !

I have light,sandy soil that builds up nicely with the cuttings.

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BobTheDuvet · 10/05/2020 16:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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tootyfruitypickle · 11/05/2020 07:04

Trench composting is a brilliant idea thank you ! As long as I dig deep enough there won’t be any vermin issues presumably ? I might try a section and see if the fox notices... then presumably after the next rain I can start layering a mulch of compost over the sections that I’ve done and just leave the whole thing until next spring , when I can dig it over and there might even be worms?!

I’ll have to start dividing my scraps into compost suitable vs not.

I’ve seen another cheaper compost bin which I could keep in semi shade I think near to the veg bed , it’s just a normal compost bin but quite secure according to the reviews. I was thinking of putting it alongside the fence in the sunny border but near a tree (so shaded half the day ) and then hide with a plastic pop up type greenhouse in front. The problem with the green Johanna is that I can’t work out a way to disguise it in the shade. My garden wraps around my kitchen and it’s all quite close to the house as it’s not long but wide.

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tootyfruitypickle · 11/05/2020 07:08

Quite intrigued by bokahsi idea also which presumably works for trench composting and would allow me to use everything , and I can also put into a main compost bin with less concern over rats.

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ppeatfruit · 11/05/2020 09:43

Actually Tooty I get squashes growing out of my compost heaps completely on their own! Also potatoes love to grow on compost. So trenches would be a good idea.

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tootyfruitypickle · 11/05/2020 10:26

Perfect I might start with trench system then and possibly bokashi, and get a compost bin in the future once I’ve run out of space for trench composting ,thanks for all the advice it’s been super helpful. DD just refuses to listen to my compost ponderings...

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