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Thread: Ferns in the compost bin?

  1. #1
    burnie is offline Veggie gardener
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    Default Ferns in the compost bin?

    We have a few very large ferns that need a hair cut during the summer, is it ok to compost this? I've never thought about it until today.

  2. #2
    burnie is offline Veggie gardener
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    I guess no one else has thought about it either then......................well they're in now, so we will see what happens, not a huge amount of them.

  3. #3
    happyhumph is offline Cropper
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    Only just seen this burnie! I do it, it's fine - might take a little longer than other green stuff to decompose that's all. Remember seeing something somewhere about compost made from bracken and sheep's wool? Might have been Beechgrove....
    burnie likes this.
    Another happy Nutter...

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    We have two patches in our front and I had looked into it.

    There has been awareness raised around bracken having a carcinogenic chemical but no definite link to humans but precautions advised esp late summer,Composting Bracken - www.carryoncomposting.com

    is ok to compost from rhs:

    Using bracken for composting or as a soil improver
    The young green fronds of bracken can be collected for the compost heap where they will rot down slowly, enriching the nutrient content of the compost. Bracken stems are too woody to be added to the compost or leafmould heap, unless they are first shredded or chopped into small sections.

    Bracken produces numerous spores, but these seldom seem to germinate and grow in the compost heap. Small sections of the roots can regenerate, and therefore should not be used in the compost.

    Dead bracken collected in autumn can be rotted down to make mulch, in the same way as tree leaves are collected and rotted down to make leafmould
    Elsie

  5. #5
    burnie is offline Veggie gardener
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    Don't know if bracken is different to ferns, but thanks for the effort, never gave it a thought to google. I use the dead stuff as a mulch under trees/hedges with no ill effect.

  6. #6
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    Dynamo is offline Rooter
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    Monty on Gardner's World used (I think) dried bracken as a mulch but reckoned it was pretty acid. I'm guessing adding a bit of lime wouldn't do any harm to neutralise it.

  7. #7
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    roitelet is offline Early Fruiter
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    I did read somewhere that at certain times of the year Bracken is carcinogenic.
    Gardening requires a lot of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. Lou Erickson, critic and poet

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by roitelet View Post
    I did read somewhere that at certain times of the year Bracken is carcinogenic.
    It'll probably be when it's green. The chemicals in the leaves by themselves are harmless but when mixed together they make cyanide. Once the leaves have dried out they should be fine.

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