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We are completely new to gardening and so would like some advise, please.

We are trying to make our own compost and be more green.

Do we have to wait for everything (peelings and grass etc to break down or can we mix it in with the soil and let it break down in the bed?

Also, we have a clay soil if we mix in grass and weed cuttings do they have to be dead or will fresh cut be OK? I mean will it seed in the soil?

Kind regards

Alina W

Compost has to be rotted down before it's dug into the ground, yes.

The same is true of weeds and grass cuttings. All things take nitrogen out of the soil as they break down and produce heat, neither of which would help plants grow.

With clay soil you also need to add grit to help break it up - buy from a builders' merchant as it's much cheaper.

Hi Alina W

Thanks very much for the reply.

Yes of course the heat, I did not think about that.

I guess I will have to be patient

Kind regards

figrat
Just out of interest, I've always understood that green manures are cut down and hoed directly into the soil. Does this have a detrimental effect in terms of nitrogen depletion/ excess heat?
Alina W

Good point I don't think so, because it's usually done when there are no other plants growing there, as far as I know. With regard to the nitrogen, some green manure plants add it to the soil, so it probablty balances out.

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kate1123

Can I butt in and ask if a bean trench depletes the nitrogen?

Alina W

I have no idea, except that beans and peas put nitrogen back into the soil.

figrat
http://www.organicmattersmag.com/features/121-gardening-tips-green-manures

Doesn't quite answer the question, but interesting reading in a boring sort of way!

I cannot recommend more that you add a high proportion of paper. cardboard and shredded woody matter to the mix to avoid a claggy, slimy, evil smelling mess. I'm almost on the verge of not adding grass cuttings to my mix at all this year to try and achieve a good crumbly texture at the end of it.

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