by Jane Moore

It may have been a lousy summer for growing many crops but the wet weather bodes well for my compost.

It may have been a lousy summer for growing many crops but the wet weather bodes well for my compost.

It's always 'alright' rather than 'wonderful', unlike the stuff I make at work, which is always lovely: friable, richly dark and full of worms, just as the books say it should be.

So what goes wrong with the compost on the plot? The answer is simple: lack of variety.

The compost I make at work has grass clippings, weeds, herbaceous stems, annual plants, the odd barrowful of spent compost from pots and an assortment of autumn leaves, added at this time of year because the leaf mould heap is overflowing. It's all put together in the recommended 20cm-or-so layers and big bits are made smaller with secateurs as we go. All text book stuff.

On the plot it's all a bit more haphazard. For one thing I seem to have weeds, weeds and more weeds with only the odd bit of grass or plant tops to add in. The result is that my layers go to pot and my compost suffers accordingly.

This year, although I still have an inordinate amount of weeds, there has also been a decent amount of grass clippings from around the plot, plus a good deal of lush spent plants and plant tops (including a few failures I must admit), so my layering is much improved. I even have a few fallen leaves from the little apple trees to add, as well as some spent bedding plants from pots at home.

The formula is right, now I'll just have to wait a few months for the results!

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Talkback: Composting
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Gardeners' World Web User 22/10/2008 at 23:03

Dear Jane, I'm a youth worker in Pontefract, and we took on an allotment for the young people back in may. in july i managed to build a two compartment compost heap using pallets (with a lid), and we've managed to put in grass clippings, old paper bags, weeds and some more woody clippings. but it still hasn't rotted down! what are we doing wrong?

Gardeners' World Web User 23/10/2008 at 19:32

I have recently bought a shreder is it ok to use the shreded waste in the compost bin

Gardeners' World Web User 23/10/2008 at 21:31

yes it is ok to put shreded waste in the compost bin i dont put weeds in my compost bin i put grass cutings shreded news paper dead plants spud pelings carrot pelings any veg waste and branches that are shreded and cover it with and old rug to keep the heat in mine has rotted down ok if it is dry had abit of water but dont make it to wet you will see the worms cuming and it will feel warm you will no then it is working it will take atime to rot down i get sume good compost from mine

Gardeners' World Web User 24/10/2008 at 12:26

Composting, It's addictive. Last year I decided to start growing a few vedge to remind me and the family how food 'SHOULD' taste, a few potatoes, runner beans, salad plants etc, I also sent off for my free composter from my local council and duly filled it. Alas I didnt layer or aireate so it didnt do too well, I think it was also a bit too dry, however I have now bought a larger bin and accelerant and divided all the old stuff between the bins therefore giving it all a good turning. I've since added loads of shreddings, woody and paper, especially all my personnel stuff, theres no better place for it, all the dead bean plants, kitchen waste etc and damped it down well with the accelerant and it is going well. I simply can't let a day pass without popping down the end of the garden and having a look inside the bins....I even lay in bed thinking about what to add next, Its taking me over, I think I need HELP!!

Gardeners' World Web User 24/10/2008 at 12:58

i wrok in a grden centere called wyvlae and i love working with all the plants outsid i wonder if thee is any books you can recermend to me about sersernall plants as i work in the sezernall plant aere in the garden centere and i have to confes i dont relllly know any thing about plants can any one out there plese help me yours julian

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