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  • Compost, emptying, storage etc

    I have a number of compost bins. Like all good gardeners, never quite the ones I want.

    A couple of thoughts. When I turned the compost at the plot (I have a 2-bay bin), I had to empty the older bin out. I put this in some plastic storage boxes (ex recycling ones) covered with chipboard. Is there any risk of the compost spoiling in any way?

    I also took compost out the dalek at home. Rather than empty it out by lifting up the dalek (it's very inconvenient in the space) I dig it out of the bottom through the little hatch. It's fiddly, but are there any reasons why I should lift it up to do? As I only have the one dalek, it's in continuous use - I am adding to the top even as I take out of the bottom.

    Does anyone else leave stuff in as "seed" compost? ie I leave a few bits of wood in the back of the bin that are breaking very slowly, but I work on the view that they will hold bacteria to start the new stuff off.

  • #2
    Originally posted by bikermike View Post
    I

    I also took compost out the dalek at home. Rather than empty it out by lifting up the dalek (it's very inconvenient in the space) I dig it out of the bottom through the little hatch. It's fiddly, but are there any reasons why I should lift it up to do?
    They're lifted off because its too fiddly to get the compost out of the little hatch!!

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    • #3
      Compost needs oxygen, as long as your storage boxes have holes in for air and to let liquid out the bottom.
      If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.
      Gardening in the NE of Scotland

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      • #4
        Only one of my bins has a hatch so I always lift them to get at the compost.
        Location....East Midlands.

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        • #5
          Emptied my compost bin the other day, yeech! All these little tea bag remnants that won't rot down. Had to go through it to remove them. I have changed to PG Tips, which says it's fully recyclable.
          Mostly flowers, some fruit and veg, at the seaside in Edinburgh.

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          • #6
            we use leaf tea now, except for decaff, as her ladyship can't find one she likes. So I have to dry those teabags and empty them into the compost bucket (actually not too onerous).

            wine corks though, how long do they take to break down? (genuine cork corks, plastic corks go off to landfill). The problem is that I keep on putting them back in, so it looks like I'm a complete wino...

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            • #7
              A quick question to the lifters - what happens when you lift it?

              Presumably there is a layer of not-compost on top, does the whole thing collapse, or does it stay like a giant sandcastle?

              Or do you fill it and then leave it until it's done before lifting?

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              • #8
                Just a thought re the dalek, would it be easier to manage if the whole bottom was supported up on bricks or similar and a rather larger hatch substituted for the current small one ?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Babru View Post
                  Emptied my compost bin the other day, yeech! All these little tea bag remnants that won't rot down. Had to go through it to remove them. I have changed to PG Tips, which says it's fully recyclable.
                  We've been PG users for years, it works well with our hard water. Even so some of the bags in the past don't break down that well. Our compost making is getting better and the bags less obvious. In addition I rip open many tea bags and give the contents to the worm bin.

                  Compost is a living thing, it pays to throw either some old made compost and a spade full of garden soil into new material to 'seed' the microbes for a potential faster breakdown. It's best if ready compost is kept moist (open top bags help). One of the reasons compost works is that it feeds the microscopic life forms that in turn 'pass' the processed compost to create nutrients that are then plant available. Compost itself is only a stage to plant food.
                  That said, adding dry ready compost to the soil will still feed the plants, it just does it slower because the bacteria etc. in the soil already have to multiply all over again.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nickdub View Post
                    Just a thought re the dalek, would it be easier to manage if the whole bottom was supported up on bricks or similar and a rather larger hatch substituted for the current small one ?
                    Not sure about bricks, but a different dalek (I'm looking at the square ones) would be good.

                    Prior to the dalek, I had a square enclosure made of chicken wire and the post of the sale board for the house when I bought it. Then the year we had our son, we found a rat in it. So to avoid rat encouragement, I put slabs down, and put the dalek on top of that, so I don't think bricks etc would go down well.

                    I could buy a new square dalek (IYSWIM), but then I'd be buying new plastic...

                    I'm also curious about a hot composter - the only source of compost I'm not tapping is food waste that isn't raw - but they do seem to need regular attention and are really not cheap.


                    I suspect I'll wait until I can "justify" it by taking the old dalek to the plot


                    As it happens the rat issue was caused by a near-ish neighbour not replacing a broken manhole cover. They were Encouraged to sort this out by a nearer neighbour. No rat problems since...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bikermike View Post
                      A quick question to the lifters - what happens when you lift it?

                      Presumably there is a layer of not-compost on top, does the whole thing collapse, or does it stay like a giant sandcastle?

                      Or do you fill it and then leave it until it's done before lifting?
                      I fork any from the top that hasn't turned to compost into a empty bin, the compost left in the first bin ether gets added to a bed or left in the bin till I need it.
                      Location....East Midlands.

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                      • #12
                        A double-binner, eh?

                        Becuase it's in a confined space, i could put the topping into a barrow for returning... but i need to fill the barrow with the compost.

                        This is all helpful stuff, it shows that i'm not missing anything obvious given the constraints i have.

                        I think its put up with it or buy a new bin

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Babru View Post
                          Emptied my compost bin the other day, yeech! All these little tea bag remnants that won't rot down. Had to go through it to remove them. I have changed to PG Tips, which says it's fully recyclable.
                          I had a look on their website and on the boxes and there's nothing to indicate they are compostable. I do recall the awful social media pestering campaign only targeting Unilever's PG Tips brand, their pledge to make teabags biodegradeable (which doesn't necessarily mean home compostable) and a press release saying they are now biodegradeable but nothing on the boxes.

                          I use leaf tea but I top up a neighbour's compost bins with another neighbour's food waste

                          Originally posted by nickdub View Post
                          Just a thought re the dalek, would it be easier to manage if the whole bottom was supported up on bricks or similar and a rather larger hatch substituted for the current small one ?
                          I have one of mine over slabs with a gap for worms to get in out and for drainage. That one is easy to use. The others because they don't stay on the level distort, lids don't fit and the mechanical stresses open the corner joints apart.
                          If I'd more space and stuck with daleks they'd all be on slabs with holes cored.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bikermike View Post
                            I have a number of compost bins. Like all good gardeners, never quite the ones I want.

                            A couple of thoughts. When I turned the compost at the plot (I have a 2-bay bin), I had to empty the older bin out. I put this in some plastic storage boxes (ex recycling ones) covered with chipboard. Is there any risk of the compost spoiling in any way?

                            I also took compost out the dalek at home. Rather than empty it out by lifting up the dalek (it's very inconvenient in the space) I dig it out of the bottom through the little hatch. It's fiddly, but are there any reasons why I should lift it up to do? As I only have the one dalek, it's in continuous use - I am adding to the top even as I take out of the bottom.

                            Does anyone else leave stuff in as "seed" compost? ie I leave a few bits of wood in the back of the bin that are breaking very slowly, but I work on the view that they will hold bacteria to start the new stuff off.
                            I think if I was in your position I'd just find a quite corner of the garden and after the initial "composting" had been done in the dalek etc, I'd tip it all out + whatever other half composed material there was lying around, cover it in black plastic and just let it sit for 6 - 12 months. Probably I'd have 3 or 4 dalek's worth in the one heap. The pile has to be big enough to get a bit of heat into it initially (even half composted material) plus damp enough to keep the worms happy once they move in. Keeping compost in smaller recycling containers just won't do that.

                            I also use "seed" compost all the time - just to make sure the bacteria get off to a flying start.

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