10 messages
23/04/2014 at 23:28
Hi, I have almost decided to start a compost bin up until when researching it I discovered cockroaches often dwell within the heap. Now my wife is not thrilled of the idea of having a bin in the first place as her father always had one and she didn't like the smell. But if we get a roach infestation I will be held solely responsible. I understand that cockroaches can play an important part of the decomposition process but the last thing I want is roaches in the house. As once they take hold of a property they are extremely hard to remove. Are cockroaches much of a problem in England I realise that in oz and the US they are a real problem. But would they be attracted to my bin? Would it be wise to limit the amount of food waste in there ie just use plants, grass and paper? Ideally I would like to keep the bin out of site and the best place for this would by the side of my house rather than at the bottom of the garden. I also read that it's better to have it near the house to deter mice. Yet far away to prevent roaches entering your property hence my confusion. lastly I realise it is slightly off topic but my afformentioned father in law's compost bin isn't your traditional 50/50 browns and greens it's basically just grass mowings and the odd egg shell here and there he doesn't turn it he just piles it all in throughout the summer and the following spring spreads the mulch like substance over his beds. With this he has never had any problems with pests and his bin is metres away from his back door. And he has always had very attractive flower beds. But in saying that he will also buy a few 100 litres of compost too. Is following his method suitable for growing a few border flowers and a very small veg patch in the back garden?
23/04/2014 at 23:29
Ps sorry it's so long and waffly but there is lots of contradicting advice online
Edd
23/04/2014 at 23:49
24/04/2014 at 07:02

I've never ever seen a cockroach anywhere in England, let alone in my compost bins. I'd not worry about them.

24/04/2014 at 08:20

I have two compost bins at the side of my house and don't have any trouble with little critters.  A good mixture of grass, leaves and kitchen waste (not food) and it all rots down in the year to black non smelly compost.  

I have only seen cockroaches in the UK in a London hotel basement dining/kitchen.

24/04/2014 at 09:17

Have never seen a cockroach in England (did stay at a 3 cockroach hotel in Cuba though) The bin should be 50% greens and 50% browns, turned frequently to get loads of air into the mix. It should NOT smell. Are you getting a couple of those plastic Dalek shaped bins? You may find that your local Council does a cheap deal on these. Don't get the very tiny ones as they don't work so well. It is a good idea to have 2 then one is cooking whilst you are filling the other. Good luck with it

24/04/2014 at 10:22

As artjak says, it's a good idea to have two bins so that the contents of one (when full) can be left to decompose whilst you are filling the other one.  Compost needs heat and air - so you should ideally "stir" the contents of the bins as they fill.   Siting them in a warm place helps too, as is the fact that the council's ones are usually black & thus absorb & retain heat well.  When the first bin is full, it's a good idea to empty its contents into the second bin and then begin all over again with the first one.  Soon after that the composted stuff which you started with will be OK to use, but sieveing it helps too especially if you want to use it to fill pots/planters etc.

I reckon it's best to put the bins on a paved surface with small gaps between the paving slabs.  That way the worms can get in & help get the whole composting process going, and if the gaps are less than half-an-inch wide, mice can't get in there.  Another idea is to put the bins down on the ground with some small-gauge wire mesh underneath.  However, this doesn't stop some small rodents!  As others have said, compost shouldn't smell bad - if it does it's probably because the contents don't consist of stuff which is suitable in the first place.  A mixture - in shallow layers - of all sorts of green stuff is good, plus shredded paper/vegetable peelings/twiggy stuff cut up into small pieces etc as this helps keep some airy space in the bin.  It's not a good idea to put a large amount of lawn mowings in unless this is scattered/mixed with the rest of it. You can put weeds in too - but not if they have seeded, otherwise you'll only be spreading the weeds themselves when you eventually use the compost.

I have two black bins, plus a big heap of other garden waste which is left to decompose in the corner of the field beyond the fence at home - the only unwanted visitors I've ever found in the bins are the odd slug or two.  The stuff in the corner of the field takes longer to break down because I don't "stir" it - I used to leave the curious cattle to do that,  but now the field has been planted with potatoes so the heap will have to be left to its own devices & will take longer to be useable.

24/04/2014 at 10:54
Our bins are right next to the house and we have mice but they are part of the composting system as far as I am concerned. I do worry that they might be addicted to caffeine now because I put coffee grounds in the bin and they build nests with the tea bags.
24/04/2014 at 13:07
Yeah I was planning on buying online subsidised by council a 220 litre bin is about 7 quid plus a fiver for postage and packaging. In terms of weeds like dandelion, daisy etc do you not put the flower heads in to avoid the seeds? Or is the theory that by aerating it the bacteria will generate enough heat to kill off the seeds?
24/04/2014 at 14:47

Hello again - yes, the council bins are fine.  I don't bother about daisies etc but don't put dandelion heads in the bins.  In theory if they've not got to the "mature seed" stage it shouldn't matter much, but it's easy to pull the flowers off anyway.  If you're putting any twiggy shrub prunings in the bin, its best to cut them up into small pieces so's they rot down more quickly, so you'd need to keep the secateurs handy!

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