New composting bins

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New composting bins

Postby Stephen » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:05 pm

Hi all

At my voluntary gardening project, the composting bins are full to overflowing. Good in it's way but with the slow progress compost makes in the winter months, I need to construct some more.
(also the present ones are falling sideways, like parallelograms)

Question: are pallets really good enough or will I do better with decent planks (such as old scaffold boards). Surely these will keep in more heat, let out less material and be more sturdy if noticably more demanding at construction phase?
The alternative, I suppose, is to take two pallets and tear the boards off one and add to the second. I have done that before.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Shallot Man » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:35 pm

Stephen. I use pallet boards with polystyrene in the middle. Works a treat.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Colin2016 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:39 pm

I use pallets for composting & scaffold boards for beds.

I have a 6 bay set up made using pallets, I lined the inside of the bays with cardboard and put a roof over them to keep rain off, also have plastic on the top of the pile.

Tips: make the separating bays in 2 parts to you can remove top part to turn compost into other bay.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Stephen » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:46 pm

Interesting thoughts.
I top the heaps off with cardboard, which will rot down, with a pallet on top to provide a bit of pressure.
I like the idea of insulating them, I wonder where I can scrounge something (a trip to the tip maybe).
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Westi » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:23 pm

I like Shallot Man's tip with the polystyrene insulating them. There is that gap just begging to be filled when you use pallets.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Geoff » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:05 pm

When composting is discussed there is always all the talk about nitrogen and carbon (which I consider pointless and probably chemically incorrect) rather than green and brown or wet and dry but very little about how much air. Strapped together pallets obviously let in a lot of air and retain little heat. Some form of insulation keeps in heat and reduces air. How good a lid you have is another influence. I don't know the best answer. My heaps are built from solid concrete blocks with removable front wooden slats with no spaces and I cover them with several layers of carpet, so reasonable insulation and little air. Most of my compost is OK but as I bury it rather than spreading it on the surface it doesn't have to be brilliant.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby peter » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:23 pm

I bought a heavily discounted square plastic compost bin, from Blackwall, it has four slot together panels and a slot-on-the-top-of-a-side-hinge lid for the top.

Worst bit of garden plastic I've ever bought!

By design the side panels have numerous slots in them. All it ever did was dehydrate whatever I put in it, even lawn mowings. The lid kept the rain off, the black plastic absorbed any sunlight for heat and the slots let the warm moist air out in the breeze and by convection as the hot air left by the top slots and colder, drier air came in the bottom slots.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Stephen » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:11 pm

Geoff:- Like you, I have read the theory but, apart from adding plenty of cardboard if there is a lot of soft green material, I don't quite understand how anyone can carefully decide to achieve a "perfect" mix. If it is compostable material, it goes in the compost bins as far as I am concerned.
Yes, give it some water in the summer, keep it warm in winter and that will have to do.

Peter:- I have black plastic daleks from Blackwall. Very cheap. Probably a bit dry inside but it all composts down.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby peter » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:59 pm

Stephen wrote:.....l
Peter:- I have black plastic daleks from Blackwall. Very cheap. Probably a bit dry inside but it all composts down.


Dalek style I have many and they work perfectly, no air slots. :wink:
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Colin2016 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:13 am

I have heard of success of using large builder bags, but never tried myself.

Wondering who does hot or cold composting and do you turn it or leave it.

I have been shredding loads of neighbours trees using a Bosch AXT 25D shredder/chipper a great bit of kit, it also shreds cardboard as well.

"with a pallet on top to provide a bit of pressure"

Not heard of this would have thought this compacts the compost quicker, not something I am aiming for.
Last edited by Colin2016 on Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Shallot Man » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:14 am

Geoff wrote:When composting is discussed there is always all the talk about nitrogen and carbon (which I consider pointless and probably chemically incorrect) rather than green and brown or wet and dry but very little about how much air. Strapped together pallets obviously let in a lot of air and retain little heat. Some form of insulation keeps in heat and reduces air. How good a lid you have is another influence. I don't know the best answer. My heaps are built from solid concrete blocks with removable front wooden slats with no spaces and I cover them with several layers of carpet, so reasonable insulation and little air. Most of my compost is OK but as I bury it rather than spreading it on the surface it doesn't have to be brilliant.



Geoff. The pallet boards I aquired were heavy duty [ to be used over and over again]. Where the fork lift blades entered was in heavy ventelated plastic. These are at the bottom of the box, so some air goes up inside.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Stephen » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:26 am

Hi Colin
I can report back in a year or so on the success of producing leaf mould in builder's bags as I am using that technique. Elsewhere on the forum I'm sure people have met with success. For compost, I don't see why it shouldn't but feel it might be messy.
I recommend putting pressure on leaf mould and thought the technique worth trying. It does keep the cardboard down and should signal to others that that bin is full.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Geoff » Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:08 am

Leaf mould in builders' bags works fine. I cover with weighed down plastic mesh like is used for supporting climbers. Added this when I found the wind was sucking the leaves back out of the bags.
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Re: New composting bins

Postby robo » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:26 pm

One of my compost bins comes from the council they gave us green bins for green waste then decided to charge us £30 as we pay for waste collection in our rates I decided to take it too the plot
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Re: New composting bins

Postby Colin2016 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:32 pm

I put all the sucked up shredded leaves in my hot compost as thinking it gets done a bit quicker than a year or 2 using the black bag method.
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