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(18 Posts)
Luckygirl Sat 19-Sep-20 18:34:13

When I arrived here 4 years ago there were two black dalek-style compost bins. Each autumn I have filled them with copious quantities of leaves from the beech tree.

Have I got any compost? - NO!

Just two bins full of slightly discoloured leaves.


J52 Sat 19-Sep-20 18:37:19

Are they too dry? And do they have any worms to digest them?
We made compost from leaves in black garden bags left open, after a couple of years lovely compost.

janeainsworth Sat 19-Sep-20 18:39:51

Leaves take much longer to compost than anything else, Lucky.
I think you can buy compost accelerators but I've never tried them.
I would add other stuff to the bins - fruit & veg peelings, tea leaves, coffee grounds.
I also like to see worms in my bins, so if you spot any worms in your garden, transfer them to the bin. They will go forth and multiply and help your compost on its way.

biba70 Sat 19-Sep-20 18:44:56

we pick our leaves with the lawn mower- this way, you get a better composting mix, and the leaves are shredded and compost faster. As J says, probably too dry.

But for good composting, you need a mix of materials, green and brown. Grass cuttings only will just turn to a slimy horrible mush- leaves will not compost well.

Jaxjacky Sat 19-Sep-20 19:27:45

As biba70 said, you need a mix, veg peelings, egg shells, tea leaves, leave the lid off if it’s raining for a day. Takes 18 months to two years at least.

biba70 Sat 19-Sep-20 19:36:09

When I don't have enough brown material, I add wet torn corrugated cardboard as layers- works very well. Good idea to keep lid off when rain comes to soak all. My magical ingredient is regular layers of horse manure from our fields (a neighbour keeps 2 horses there).

rubysong Sat 19-Sep-20 19:53:46

I have a dalek in the garden and it makes good compost from a mixture of things but I don't put leaves in. I find egg shells come out the same as they go in so I rinse them, leave them to dry then crush them to add to potting compost as vermiculite is impossible to get here at the moment. Leaves need to be rotted either in an enclosure made from wire netting left open to the rain or put wet into plastic bags with holes in them. Either way it takes a long time.
(Compost is a bit of a passion with me, I also have two dumpy bags at the back of church where I make quantities of good compost from the church 'garden')

Whitewavemark2 Sat 19-Sep-20 20:01:39

We have a bog standard green plastic composter and get really good stuff from it. Not sure what we do, everything goes into it but no grass clippings. Perhaps that’s the secret?

Luckygirl Sat 19-Sep-20 20:38:40

Ah - thank you ladies - having established that leaves do not compost well what the heck do I do with them? - there are trillions of them, currently sitting in a massive log bag. And loads more to come. I always feel that incinerating them is a bit anti-social.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 19-Sep-20 20:49:14

I thought you were supposed to put them in black bags, water them with the hosepipe wrap them up, put them somewhere and leave them for about 100 years or perhaps 2-3 not sure which.

biba70 Sat 19-Sep-20 20:53:07

If you have the space - open lids and let rain in, add wet corrugated cardboard and manure to accelerate- add grass cuttings too. Will take 2 years- not 100 ;) lol

Isn't incinerating illegal now?

merlotgran Sat 19-Sep-20 20:54:15

You can buy leaf composting bags on eBay. They're like open meshed sacks and when they're full you just stick them in an out of the way spot and leave them to rot down.

Black bin bags with a few holes punched in the sides also works.

Luckygirl Sat 19-Sep-20 23:04:09

Many thanks for the ideas.

mumofmadboys Sun 20-Sep-20 06:43:49

I remember going to the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. They recommended pouring urine on compost heaps!

Calendargirl Sun 20-Sep-20 07:29:34

Monty Don on Gardeners’ World is an expert on compost. Does a feature on it every year.
However, he doesn’t have to make do with the odd bin- he has about half a dozen huge containers which have the compost in different stages of de-composition.
Am sure he has minions to turn and check the compost on a regular basis.


Sparkling Sun 20-Sep-20 07:44:03

My compost bins have never produced any compost ever, I keep adding to it, never gets full but it's better than putting it in the household rubbish. I have also put leaves in black bin liners, not successful. I think urgent action is required from Monty as an act of charity.

Furret Sun 20-Sep-20 08:21:57


As biba70 said, you need a mix, veg peelings, egg shells, tea leaves, leave the lid off if it’s raining for a day. Takes 18 months to two years at least.

Correct. Plus ‘dry’ stuff like shredded paper.

travelsafar Sun 20-Sep-20 08:30:05

I use a product called compost activator. You sprinkle some over leaves etc as you add layers. It helps the break down. It is also friendly to worms and other creatures which get in to the compost.