Thursday, 27 May 2010

Composting queries

This post is basically a shameless plea for help! As our garden at home is so small we've never had the space for a compost bin, now we've got the plot and more space I need to get the compost bin going so I've got some nice organic material to dig into our horribly dry clay soil for next year. The problem is that I have no access to green leafy material as yet as nothing has actually grown on the plot and we're not allowed to bring kitchen or garden waste from home.

So, the organic material I can get my hands on at the moment is:

Chicken manure mixed with hemcore/aubiose
Stuff from the Bokashi bin
Some grass clippings but not loads (our grass is mostly eaten by the chickens)

That's about it, and some of that is stretching the definition of 'kitchen and garden waste'. I'm also trying to source some horse manure but haven't had any success yet. I'm digging up vast quantities of weeds still (see picture for impressive looking root of something or other, that's about 10" long in real life) but obviously won't be adding those. Later in the year we'll have waste green things from the plot itself.

So will I be able to get a usable compost from the above? I've Googled a little bit but am getting confused with green/brown material, hot composting, dire warnings about too many grass clippings, slimy compost etc. Am I over thinking this? Should I just shove it all in together and stop worrying??

Any advice would be gratefully received!


  1. Well I'm sll for chucking it in and see what ahppens to be is a good idea to have something covering your compost...I have used old carpet in the past or of course ypou can get the daleks. I don' put weeds in mine and avoid soil but pretty much anything else's a pity you can't bring your waste from home...couldn't you sneak it up in carrier bags every time you visit|??/ It seems a little excessive to not let you use your waste from home in your own composters...anyway I am grumbling away from the point. Basically I know sod all about compost but if you go to they have lots of postings about compost if you go back to feb/march and they are all good things to may not want to go this far but it will give you some ideas and if you have any questions just post it in the comments section they are good at will probably like their site anyway...let me know what you think and good luck.

  2. Wow you're quick! It's a proper pain not being able to bring stuff from home but you're right re sneaking, especially as I'm mostly on the plot during the day when no-one else is around. I'm feeling underhand as it is with the grass clippings and bokashi stuff!

    Thanks for the blog link, I'll go and investigate.

  3. I would definitely sneak kitchen waste in. Would they check?
    As for weeds, I put all annual weeds that I hoe in with no problems.. and as for the green/brown, just try to keep it balanced.If there's too much green and its looking slimy put a good layer of shredded paper in to balance it out

  4. To be fair, I can't imagine they're going to rifle through the compost but there are - ahem - tensions within our group of allotmenteers and I'm pretty sure if a neighbour sees me bringing contraband in, they will dob me in.

  5. ....and try to keep it not more than 30% of any one thing. Another option if you don't have much stuff to use is to do what I do - put perforated containers in the ground, bit by bit put in green stuff and some dry but add compost worms to do the work. The worms then take all the decomposed stuff out through the holes and fertilise about a metre square, around the container. Always put a lid on to stop vermin getting in and start the perforations a good 15cm below the soil level so mice don't dig down and get in through the holes.

  6. What an excellent idea - may give that a go!

  7. Re horse manure...I think perhaps you've by now found a supply, but in case you need more, there is a bungalow in Oakley that sells bags of horse manure (last bungalow on right as you go out of Oakley towards Hoxne). In fact I keep meaning to get some, but as yet haven't. If you want a hand getting some we could take our trailer sometime...saves a smelly car!! Cheers - CK

  8. That's useful to know - thanks!