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The potty gardener

Please help- I have never used a composter before and so am not sure what I can put in it. I think that I need to separate very green stuff with cardboard or similar to stop it going slimy.

Is it ok to put pruning from fuschia, roses, clematis?

I'm sure it's ok to put bits I cut back from perennials.

Some pelargoniums I tries to overwinter died and had whitish dust on them, can these be included?

What about weeds from cracks in paving including grass?

Finally what about moss growing on the top of pots and down the side of the house?

 

flowering rose

In the compost you can put any greens and tea bags,coffee,weeds(after drowning in bucket of water)any green stuff,grass,straw,hay,sticks (must be chopped up) anything really cardboard,newspaper.do not put sawdust or fresh chopped bark in as it needs to be in a separate bin for about a year before you use ,leaves collected in autumn should be put in separate pile or bag (kept damp for a year) the thing to avoid is cooked food or meat  as this

BobTheGardener

Hi Bev,  Rather than separate, you want to mix things up well.  Ideally, about 80% dry stuff to 20% soft green matter.  Turn the whole lot regularly and in about 3 months you will have some good stuff!  Any of the things you mention are fine, but avoid perennial weed roots (eg dandelion) and don't add cooked food (attracts rats.)

figrat
I don't put weedy stuff in the bin, or cooked food or meat scraps. Woody prunings take a long time, but you can help by cutting them small or shredding them. I put in general kitchen waste -veg peelings, tea bags, egg shells, coffee grounds etc. The vacuum cleaner gets emptied in there too, and torn up egg boxes and thinnish cardboard. When I'm gardening, I tend to have 2 trugs, one for weedy or diseased stuff which goes in the council bin, and one for the rest of it. I've got 3 bins, one being filled, one rotting down and the third ready to go. Mixing the contents does help, if you google 'compost aerators' you'll find a bunch of nifty tools for use in a dalek type bin. Keeping the contents moist helps too as well, and I occasionally sling in a handful of pelleted chicken manure to act as accelerator. I don't have any lawns, so don't have any grass trimmings to deal with, if you do, then I understand they should be added in thinnish layers. Drainage can be inhibited if the composter is on hard standing (like concrete or paving).
sotongeoff

Dont think I would out rose prunings in-put some on the beds to stop next doors cat 12 months ago-they are still there -twiggy stuff will take a lot longer than green soft material to rot down

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BobTheGardener

I forget not everyone has a shredder, Geoff!  One alternative for twiggy stuff like rose prunings is hitting them a few times with a hammer/mallet on a stone surface which crushes them nicely.

Not sure what you mean by " composter".  However, if it's one of those Dalek-type plastic bins it's important that there's some way for worms to find their way in.  I have two of these bins + a big compost heap over the fence in the field, so perhaps it'll help if I tell you about the Daleks. They are in an area which is paved with concrete slabs -with approx half-inch gaps between the slabs.  Loads of worms have made their way in.

I put all sorts of kitchen waste (not cooked food) - e..g.  vegetable/fruit peelings, tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, contents of my vacuum cleaner, fluff from tumble dryer, shredded paper, garden greenery (but not weeds which have obvious seed heads), chopped-up prunings, some lawn-mowings, dead flowers & so on.  It's important not to have a deep layer of any one thing - so most of the lawn cuttings & large twiggy stuff/branches & so on go on to the big heap in the field, & I rely on the cattle's curiosty to trample the heap fro time to time, which means I don't have to turn it - which is something you're supposed to do on a regular basis.  For turning the contents of the Daleks I have a gadget which looks a bit like a folded arrowhead on a stick.  I push it down into the Daleks' contents from time to time & the folded arrowhead opens up as I pull the whole thing out again & this disturbs the layers.  Sorry I can't remember what it's called, or the manufacturer, but I bet somebody out there knows!  It helps if the compost is in a sunny spot - mine isn't - as heat helps decomposition.  I'm sure other posters will explain a bit more, but here's a start, anyway.........

figrat
Good tip re Rose prunings Geoff- my neighbour's just got anther of the litte darlings.
Super Gran
Any tips for buying shredders mine is always getting blocked up so most of my time is taken up disentangling stuff , very annoying.
The potty gardener

Thank you so much everyone. So many tips in a short time

clogherhead

Hi ,this not a plug for this magazine but in this months Grow it there is an article about composting and you also get packet of free seeds with the mag....

derek

BobTheGardener

Super Gran, All shredders can get blocked, particularly by putting in too much soft green wet stuff all at once.  Over the years, I've learnt to feed it with a balanced diet (bit like myself, really!)  I keep two piles of stuff, one 'wet' and one 'dry' and put some 'wet' stuff in, followed by about 4 times as much 'dry'.  I find this keeps it from blocking too often, but some stuff (eg pampas grass, sweetcorn leaves) contains long tough fibres and these tend to get wrapped around spinning parts, so I try to avoid putting in stuff like that  (I chop it in to small bits with secateurs instead.)

Lyn

We have this shredder http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001123CCO/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

I think its very good but the blades go blunt after a while, havent bought a new on yet so dont know how much they cost.

I agree with Bob, put in a bit of each..

I dont put rose prunings in my compost heaps, because of the thorns, also, I have learned from last years experience, that dead heads from bellis daisys come up everywhere. 

 

Super Gran

Thanks BobThe Gardener and Lyn I'll have a look at your link.  It's great this forum

 

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