Gransnet forums



(15 Posts)
NfkDumpling Sun 21-Apr-13 15:17:48

We have two square compost bins. The idea being to fill one, then rest it to rot while filling the other one. The trouble is I really need to alternate every six to nine months or so and the compost hasn't composted enough. My DH also insists on putting excess pond weed in - which doesn't seem to rot at all. How long should a bin need to marinate? Is there anyway to speed things up? (Tried Garota stuff but it had little effect)

Florence56 Sun 21-Apr-13 15:21:54

Hello Nfk.

Am no great expert but there is a 'recipe' for compost, you can get books from library etc on the precise details. Its all about matching the chemical levels. Certain amounts of greenery need to be balanced with dryer materials. Thus if you put loads of lawn cuttings in the mixture goes wrong. Monty Don talks a lot os sense about it...perhaps there could be something on the BBC gardening site?

shysal Sun 21-Apr-13 15:42:54

I am no expert on composting, but I have 2 bins and leave it a year before using the contents, so fill one over one year and the other the next, making sure there are layers of different items for balance. I never seem to produce any heat though, which would speed things up.

Bags Sun 21-Apr-13 16:06:55

The length of time it takes to 'cook' depends on lots of things. I've never found six to nine months enough. I usually leave mine for a year or even two years. Fortunately I have room for several very large heaps (no bins). Maybe you could get your DH to pee on it? That's supposed to help.

Mamie Sun 21-Apr-13 19:38:38

We have five bins. Ours take about six months in winter and less time in summer. My OH pees on them too.
Something a man can do better than a woman.

FlicketyB Sun 21-Apr-13 19:50:14

I think the wet summer and cold winter have affected compost heaps. I have two square wooden ones and I usually reckon that each spring, if I remove the first 6 - 9 inches of the top I should have decent compost underneath. This year even a foot or more down the material is still uncomposted. I have decided not to even investigate the second heap but just leave it to compost for another year.

merlotgran Sun 21-Apr-13 19:54:13

I am lucky to have four large compost heaps so I leave them to cook for a year (in roatation) Monty Don gives composting advice in most of his books but you might find some useful info on these youtube videos

Tegan Sun 21-Apr-13 19:59:27

I'm giving up on mine because of having rats in them sad.

janeainsworth Sun 21-Apr-13 21:26:26

I have one of these which I got from the council, I also have two ordinary dustbins and a heap.
For some reason the council bin composts things a lot faster than the ordinary bins or the heap.
I have no idea why, unless it's something to do with the shape allowing heat to be retained grin
Personally I think worms are important. I love lifting the lid and seeing lots of baby worms slithering about, feasting themselves.

NfkDumpling Sun 21-Apr-13 21:26:39

Thanks everyone. We don't have room for more than two bins, but I shall study the UTube videos Merlot (although they look quite scary) and see if there's a mix to speed things up.

Granny23 Sun 21-Apr-13 21:38:02

Our 'proper' compost bin has a wee door at the bottom which you can open to take out a few shovelfuls of rotted compost at a time. With the other bin, which has no door, I decant the unrotted top layers into the wheelbarrow, upend the bin to harvest the well rotted stuff below and then replace the top layers at the bottom of the bin and start filling up again. My other trick is to capture as many worms as I can when digging over the veg. plot and bung them into the compost bin. They think they are in worm heaven and swiftly go to work feeding and making baby worms. smile

Latent Sun 21-Apr-13 22:34:56

Do you add garden soil every so often? A layer of any old stuff from a corner, if you can spare it, to make a compost sandwich - it speeds things up no end - cheaper and quicker than any fancy compost accelerator. Also do water your compost every so often - if it's too dry it won't rot - but not with chlorinated water as this will kill the bugs. As Bags recommends getting your OH to pee on it will also help (but be careful not to get arrested!)

NfkDumpling Mon 22-Apr-13 07:42:37

I've tried horse muck mixed in which seemed to help and mixed soil with grass cuttings to try to stop them becoming a thatch, but probably not enough. I think some of the problem is not having enough kitchen waste now there are just two of us. It wasn't a problem when the house was full of kids.
Keep forgetting to water, thanks for the reminder.
(the peeing bit is difficult as the bins are by the fence with two attentive toddlers next door - I'll have to send him out late at night!)

Latent Mon 22-Apr-13 10:50:32

I get mine to p into a 4l plastic milk bottle indoors and then mix it in a watering can. Bingo. We are just two now so it is difficult to collect enough peelings - so we have the neighbours saving them for us.
Also Tegan - don't give up! If you water your compost regularly the rats will leave - and find a drier home. But don't put any cooked food or bread or bones in the compost it will attract them.

gillybob Mon 22-Apr-13 10:59:52

I have one of those Beehive style composters which is made up of layers with an opening door at the bottom enabling us to shovel the good stuff out as it is "cooked".

I have an excellent (although a bit ancient) recipe book for compost called Backyard composting it is really good but not sure if it is still available.