Making Compost - or not

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haggis
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Making Compost - or not

Postby haggis » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:53 pm

Help

I got a compost bin for my garden a year and a half ago and still haven't managed to make any decent compost. I spent an hour digging it all out this weekend - it was wet and smelly at the bottom and had about 6 months of kitchen peelings just lying on the top - not really rotting down at all.

I put in all my veg and fruit peelings, teabags, crushed egg shells, old flowers, garden waste, grass cuttings etc and have tried giving a good sprinkling of compost activator but still no luck. Turning it over just releases a horrid pong and doesn't seem to help the process.

This time I alternated the unrotted and wet stuff with shredded paper in a last ditch attempt to get it going. What am I doing wrong??
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nog
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Postby nog » Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:26 pm

I would say you have put it in a corner under a tree out of the sun. If it one of those black plastic bins it needs to be in the sun to heat up.

Mix is all up to get air in it. add sheredded paper then...take the top off an p**s into it on a regular basis. In no time it will start breaking down.
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richard p
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Postby richard p » Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:39 pm

we have two kitchen compost bins, the black plastic ones the council gave away, we put in the kitchen veg waste and shredded egg boxes, but no shells since someone on here said they attracted rats. very occasionally a layer of lawn mowings is added, maybe once or twice a year. about once a week the kitchen bin is rinsed with about half a gallon of rainwater and that gets shot in the compost bin. in march the second bin is started and the full one is left to compost till next march, when it is emptied ready to become the filling bin again. so at any time there is one bin shut up composting and the other being filled. as we are in march one bin has been emptied and is now the filling bin . the other has just been shut so last weeks waste will have 12 nmonths to compost the stuff that went in the bottom last march will have 2 years in total to compost .

i would think that you are expecting yours to compost too quickly and possibly are adding to many grass cuttings? really grass cuttings need balencing with shredded paper , cardboard or straw. or leave them in a well drained heap on their own.
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richard p
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Postby richard p » Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:43 pm

forgot to mention the occasional wee dose of activator. :oops:
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nog
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Postby nog » Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:43 pm

The other tip is to add some compost to start off the new bin.
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maryn
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compost

Postby maryn » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:37 pm

Hi Haggis, like you I struggled for a year or two before compost making was actually like making compost and not like a small landfill site! What I find works best is a layer of twiggy rough material in the bottom, then a layer of farmyard manure (reasonably hot, not too old, local city/children's farm is always pleased to help) layer of kitchen waste and garden waste, layer of garden soil etc. Layers of about 4-6 inches seem to work well. Then leave it for at least 6 months, you should have a lovely friable soft compost. The manure acts as an activator. Hope this helps, regards, Maryn
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Postby fen not fen » Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:19 am

I've found these plastic bins to be too small, too awkward and too slow. I prefer a square heap with bales or pallets as walls. I don't think it is any untidier than a bin, but you do need a bit more space which can be an issue in a small garden.
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Postby Beccy » Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:49 pm

OH is the compost master around here producing beautiful friable sweet compost. But it didn't happen overnight, the first batch he tried to make after we moved here was putrid, a solid wet lump that looked (literally)like sh*t with luminous mauve slime covering it. Honestly it was awful, I have a photo showing the rather unbelievable colour, I will try to find it. So take heart, I think you will probably find that having mixed the old heap with shredded paper things start to happen.

Although adding some liquid activator if it looks too dry will help (just in case you don't know that's the 'recycled beer or whatever you drink' kind of activator).
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Postby tony s » Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:11 pm

I know this will be heresy to some, but I really dont think it is worth spending any time worrying about making compost. I have tried the "dalek bin" at home and one year it was not too bad, but a whole years worth of kitchen peelings and dead bedding plants only gave the eqivalent of a very poor bag of potting compost. The next year it went slimy and smelled. As this was by my back door, I decided to get rid of it. I am sorry to say the kitchen stuff generally goes in the wheelie bin now and good riddance to it.

Down the allotment, I dig and rotovate in a lot of finished crops and the rest is piled up in a shady bit at the bottom. Over time it will make some sort of compost, but I am certainly not going to spend time turning and mixing it or money on building a fancy system of bins. If you want to get rid of old sprout stems, burn them or put them in a trench and grow your runner beans on top - they seem to like this, and as beans tend to get watered a lot they do seem to rot down.
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Compo
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COMPOST ACTIVATOR

Postby Compo » Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:29 pm

Just a tip on the human compost activator (pee!!) dilute it with water 1 part urine to two to three parts water which also keeps the compost damp in dry periods, old tea bags from work, coffee grounds and ripped up telephone directories either crumpled or shredded make it really go.
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haggis
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Postby haggis » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:34 pm

Thanks for all of the replies. I will persevere for a bit yet.

The human compost activator bit made me chuckle - I have a very nosey neighbour who thinks I am a bit odd anyway (drying potatoes on the patio and stringing onions from the clothes line) but I think she would have a hairy fit if she saw me trying to wee in the compost bin - being a middle aged, slightly over weight female Haggis.... :lol:
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lizzie
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Postby lizzie » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:04 pm

Hi Haggis

The one to speak about pee to is Chantal.

She knows quite alot about it. Apparently she searched it on google and got some very interesting info.

There's a whole thread dedicated to it although i can't remember the title of the thread.
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Chantal
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Postby Chantal » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:05 pm

Liquid Gold Lizzie.
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lizzie
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Postby lizzie » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:07 pm

Thanks Chantal, have just found it.
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Compo
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tee pee

Postby Compo » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:10 pm

Have just read Haggis's reply!! PMSL!!! Seriously do it in a bucket in the shed and mix it with tap water, its full of nitrogen and will get the compo going real good!!!
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