Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender December 11, 2012 Posted Tags: Comment 3 Comments

Don’t be too fussy for your composting materials..

(It may be wrong but it works for me and makes a good compost)

At home my 2 dalek type compost bins just get manure, grass cuttings, shredded paper, vacuum cleaner contents, a bit of cardboard now and then, kitchen peelings (not from any blighted spuds), tea bags, egg shells, leafy hedge clippings, spent flowers, leaves, a bit of old soil and roots from pulled flowers etc. and a dash of fertilizer (occasionally). When I cut up and tidy my veg tops from the plot they all go into the bin as well. Basically anything compostable goes in to it. You are supposed supposed to turn it at least once a month or you can just aerate it by prodding through it wih steel rods to create air-holes.. but I normally forget and it still seems to work albeit a bit slower!!  Meat and any cooked leftovers are not added at all – with the only exception of egg shells..  Keep it covered from rain to stop it turning into a sludge..

When I am potting up plants and seedlings I scrape a few shovel loads from the bottom hatches and mix it in with other bought compost. Once a year in Spring I empty the whole thing and most of it has become good compost. The top, newer non composted section I just use to start off the next lot.  You have to keep topping it up because as the decay takes place it shrinks and makes space for mo to be added.. My large heap at the plot goes down about a foot a month!!

At the plot I have a huge new Compost heap started last year – it is 2 pallets long by 1 pallet wide. I have thrown in loads of bags of horse manure mixed with lots of shavings, leaves, weeds (without seed heads), cardboard and paper, veg cuttings, cut up sweetcorn plants,  loads of leaves from the council leaf collection crews, etc. etc.. It is looking good at the moment and more stuff will be added by the Spring. It will then be used on my spuds, beans, peas and courgette family. I also also used it to top up my containers on my roof top garden.

So don’t worry too much to try to get the right combinations exactly right – just plonk it in and it will work.

These 2 pics were taken a few weeks apart. The first shows how full it was.  It went down and I filled with a huge pile of leaves.. A week later the leaves were down by about 9″..


3 Responses to “Composting”

  • Jane:

    I agree with all this. It’s baffled me that I have read many times that we should put compost in in layers and then the next article will say turn it. Seems contradictory. I have started chopping up brassica hearts and this helps it to compost more quickly. I avoid adding onions and citrus peel and I empty teabags as the bag bit never breaks down.

  • Hi Jane – why do you leave out onions and citrus peel? They all work in the compost heap..

  • Jane:

    Hi Gavin
    Much of what I read on composting states that onions and citrus peel is too acidic for the worms, so I just leave it out. However, the Earthworm Society of Britain (yes, there is one and yes, I’m a member!) had a survey last year and an interesting result was that 66% of respondants put citrus fruit in their compost bins and what surprised the ESB was this didn’t seem to affect the worms as they were still recorded in the compost with citrus despite the previously held belief that it make conditions too acidic for the worms ( From this it seems it might not make any difference – maybe I’ll do my own test and put onions and peel in one of my two bins for a while to see what happens!

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