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  • #16
    Top tips?

    1) Have one more compost bin than you think you need... it will soon fill up.
    2) Four wooden pallets stood up on their sides and screwed, tied or zip-tied together at the corners make great compost bins.
    3) If you want good quality compost, quickly - buy it.
    4) If you want good quality compost for free - be patient. It takes a while unless you want to spend time and energy on it that you could better spend weeding, sowing or drinking tea.

    We have quite a bit of land so generate a lot of garden waste. I find greens massively outweigh the amount of browns the garden generates so as above, cardboard, newspaper, shredded paper, etc all goes into the mix. I have four DIY pallet compost bins in a line (13 pallets total). Two are currently full of usable compost that's been at least a year in the making - it needs to be sieved if you want it to look pretty. I tend to throw it onto the beds in bucket loads if i'm trying to build up the amount of soil on a bed and then sieve a top layer a couple of cm thick on top so it looks neat and gives a more uniform surface to plant seeds into.

    And the other two bins are filling up with this seasons waste. I reckon it takes a year to breakdown enough to be able to use it as i just let it sit and decompose by itself with the occasional watering. If i turn them at all it's when i need to use some and just turn the top few fork fulls into another bin so i can get down to the well rotted stuff underneath.

    We are on fairly heavy clay but after a year or two of adding home made compost, the soil is developing really nicely!
    Last edited by Stan79; 17-05-2019, 09:38 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by MyWifesBrassicas View Post
      Hi BM,

      That kind of volume will soon mount up to a very substantial compost heap, I might take that idea
      Not as much as you'd think, I struggle to fill a bin made out of pallets (it's mainly grass clippings or leaves depending on season, so rots down fast). Makes good compost though, if you leave it long enough (I have cheated a bit this year and used stuff before it's as good as it could be).

      Annoyingly, there are other neighbours who would let me, but I've only got two hands (so I can only pull two bins) and I don't want to be tipping stuff from bin to bin by the houses so I don't make mess. If I just keep to the two, I can take them every week and it keeps it more predictable. That's not to say I haven't eyed up full bins on the way home...

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by MyWifesBrassicas View Post
        Hi Bacchus,

        What design of housing system have you chosen?
        Hi,

        I built a set of large wooden bins (with a wire mesh front) I think they'll hold about a ton each.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma90_zSqlXU

        I did this video update of my tunnel but near the end is a section on the compost bins that might be of interest. all the materials came from the local agricultural supplies outlet so each fencing board was £1.50 and the posts about £5 or so. So in total about £75 for materials.

        The new compost bin bit starts at 6 minutes if you want to skip the rest.

        I hope this is of use
        Last edited by Bacchus; 17-05-2019, 11:39 AM.

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        • #19
          I've been developing my system over the last year or two.

          I have the Compost Fairy. He's a jobbing gardener going about the housing estates - mostly grass cutting and general tidy ups of gardens and is more than happy to get rid of the garden waste by filling up bags and dropping them at mine.

          During autumn/winter there is a lot of woody materials as people want their shrubs tidied or their hedges pruned. These get shredded and stored over winter till needed in daleks.

          I started the pile in autumn as there were still quite a bit of greens to go in - clearing out the old crops and still some grass clippings coming in. This was turned a couple of times and let to sit over winter.

          During spring/summer there's mostly grass clippings. A lot of these go straight on the beds as a mulch and this has really improved the beds. It keeps the weeds down, the moisture in, breaks down to a compost and adds nutrients direct to the soil in the beds - no compost run off being wasted by seeping into the ground.

          This is basically composting in place using the materials as a mulch - I don't have to add browns and just top it up every now and then.

          Excess grass goes into the compost bin, layering with some of the browns I've stored since winter. Some of the shredded stuff is still reasonable big so it can take a while to break down.

          As there is a lot of browns in my compost at the moment I turned it over yesterday adding 4.5 bags of grass cuttings between the older material (for comparison 1.5 bags of grass cuttings fill a 100l water butt when hammered in with a tree stake - so 4.5 bags is a lot of grass). This was the first turn this year and it had compacted down a lot, some broken down but most not (and I can't be bothered to sieve it) so I'm only adding greens at the moment to encourage the browns to break down.

          Last year I built a 3 bat area out of corrugated steel arches. One was for manure (almost empty now) One for compost and the third to allow me to turn the compost and manure.

          This is what it looked like yesterday after turning and adding the grass before I pulled the tarp over it. You can just see the structures - ugly but working. The biggest problem with these is that the iron sheet doesn't breathe but as I turn it once every month or two it's not such a big problem.

          A heap that size needs to be turned once in a while to be able to add moisture as turning the hose on it doesn't seep all the way to the centre.

          Click image for larger version

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          New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

          ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
          ― Thomas A. Edison

          “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
          ― Thomas A. Edison

          - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Bacchus View Post
            Hi,

            I built a set of large wooden bins (with a wire mesh front) I think they'll hold about a ton each.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma90_zSqlXU

            I did this video update of my tunnel but near the end is a section on the compost bins that might be of interest. all the materials came from the local agricultural supplies outlet so each fencing board was £1.50 and the posts about £5 or so. So in total about £75 for materials.

            The new compost bin bit starts at 6 minutes if you want to skip the rest.

            I hope this is of use
            I watched your youtube video, really enjoyed it, thanks
            nice compost setup
            sigpic

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Jay-ell View Post
              I've been developing my system over the last year or two.

              I have the Compost Fairy. He's a jobbing gardener going about the housing estates - mostly grass cutting and general tidy ups of gardens and is more than happy to get rid of the garden waste by filling up bags and dropping them at mine.

              During autumn/winter there is a lot of woody materials as people want their shrubs tidied or their hedges pruned. These get shredded and stored over winter till needed in daleks.

              I started the pile in autumn as there were still quite a bit of greens to go in - clearing out the old crops and still some grass clippings coming in. This was turned a couple of times and let to sit over winter.

              During spring/summer there's mostly grass clippings. A lot of these go straight on the beds as a mulch and this has really improved the beds. It keeps the weeds down, the moisture in, breaks down to a compost and adds nutrients direct to the soil in the beds - no compost run off being wasted by seeping into the ground.

              This is basically composting in place using the materials as a mulch - I don't have to add browns and just top it up every now and then.

              Excess grass goes into the compost bin, layering with some of the browns I've stored since winter. Some of the shredded stuff is still reasonable big so it can take a while to break down.

              As there is a lot of browns in my compost at the moment I turned it over yesterday adding 4.5 bags of grass cuttings between the older material (for comparison 1.5 bags of grass cuttings fill a 100l water butt when hammered in with a tree stake - so 4.5 bags is a lot of grass). This was the first turn this year and it had compacted down a lot, some broken down but most not (and I can't be bothered to sieve it) so I'm only adding greens at the moment to encourage the browns to break down.

              Last year I built a 3 bat area out of corrugated steel arches. One was for manure (almost empty now) One for compost and the third to allow me to turn the compost and manure.

              This is what it looked like yesterday after turning and adding the grass before I pulled the tarp over it. You can just see the structures - ugly but working. The biggest problem with these is that the iron sheet doesn't breathe but as I turn it once every month or two it's not such a big problem.

              A heap that size needs to be turned once in a while to be able to add moisture as turning the hose on it doesn't seep all the way to the centre.

              [ATTACH=CONFIG]86687[/ATTACH]
              love that compost pile.
              I bet those corrugated metal sheets were tough to bend
              sigpic

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by MyWifesBrassicas View Post
                love that compost pile.
                I bet those corrugated metal sheets were tough to bend
                They were already that way when I took over the
                New Territories all I had to do was grind off the bolts and welds to dismantle them (and dig them up). Two bins came from the old fire pit and the third was a kind of shelter thing.

                Site Secretary offered to get rid of them for me (to his plot)
                Last edited by Jay-ell; 17-05-2019, 08:08 PM.

                New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

                ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
                ― Thomas A. Edison

                “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
                ― Thomas A. Edison

                - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Jay-ell View Post
                  This is basically composting in place using the materials as a mulch - I don't have to add browns and just top it up every now and then.
                  That's what my uncle Bob does, to the extent that he has completely foregone the compost heap. He has one big vegetable patch where he plants pretty much at random, and everything compostable just gets thrown straight on top. He swears he never had anything good out of his dalek. Mind you, he's the same bloke whose gloves don't keep his hands any warmer.

                  I'm going to start using the grass clippings on the beds though I think.
                  Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
                  By singing-'Oh how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
                  While better men than we go out and start their working lives
                  At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner-knives. ~ Rudyard Kipling

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    One of the reasons why I have a compost pile is to use up the grass I can't fit in elsewhere

                    Compost Fairy dropped off 6 bags of grass today. Looks like a heavy mulching session next time I'm down the plot (Sunday).

                    That's going to be the raspberries, black currants, figs, apples, pears, plums, cherry, honeyberries, golden currants, red currants, kiwi, Gooseberries, Strawberries, perennial kale

                    AAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

                    New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

                    ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
                    ― Thomas A. Edison

                    “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
                    ― Thomas A. Edison

                    - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      So do you mulch strawberries and raspberries with grass cuttings at this time of year. Could do that myself.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        At this time of year I'll mulch everything. Sit still too long and you'd get covered in a centimeter or two.

                        Alow of my strawberries are under the fruit trees so mulch one, mulch all but there's another bed of strawbs by themselves which will need to be mulched as well.

                        New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

                        ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
                        ― Thomas A. Edison

                        “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
                        ― Thomas A. Edison

                        - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          P. S. CAVEAT: Just because I do it doesn't necessarily make it a good idea.

                          New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

                          ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
                          ― Thomas A. Edison

                          “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
                          ― Thomas A. Edison

                          - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Jay-ell View Post
                            P. S. CAVEAT: Just because I do it doesn't necessarily make it a good idea.
                            Ditto May have to add that to my signature.

                            Comment

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