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Talkback: Emptying the compost bin

Hi Kate this not about compost but about your Sid,I think he has moved to Ewell I was woken by a blackbird at 5am this morning singing his l...

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Hi Kate this not about compost but about your Sid,I think he has moved to Ewell I was woken by a blackbird at 5am this morning singing his lovely head off,All I have is worms and slugs in my compost bin.


all l have is weeds  in my compost bin. l was going to empty it today but the rain has not stoped so l am hoping that l can do it on saturday


Last year I found a rat on our compost heap at the allotment. I don't know who was the most suprised! The rat ran off back to the nearby brook, but I've been wary ever since and usually get my husband to lift the cover
My compost Dalek bins had to be moved when my new design raised bed veg. garden was built. I left everything in a heap and made sure there was shelter for anything that wanted it and the workmen built the beds round the heaps. When I spread the contents in the beds there was no sign of my very long slow worms but now the repositioned bins are half full the slow worms have taken up residence again.
Kate,I haven't seen a Hedgehog for years and I haven't seen a slow worm ever,Just Sid your Black Bird and a couple of woody's eating the leave's on my golden plumb.

Dave Oldchippy.


My compost bin has worked very well over the years but this year it is jammed in the middle,inspite of hefty blowsdownward.I now have to scrape away from under with a trowel !!!

i found a rat in mine the other day, and we both had a very unpleasant experience with my spade-less pleasant for the rat though. horrid

Great blog post. Thanks.

I might try to plant left over seed potatoes in one of my larger compost bays, using well rotted manure through straw and hemp. Fingers crossed. 

Kate Bradbury
Thanks for your comments.

@oldchippy - so that's where he is! I hope you're looking after him. He can get quite aggressive in spring.

@Margaret5 and @fieldfest - my mum once had a rat in her compost and made me evict it, on Boxing Day! She said it was my fault as I made her garden more wildlife friendly but all she got was rats and wasps. Still, it was the only rat I've seen in a compost bin in 20 years of composting...

@happymarion - I think they like warm heaps, so it would make sense that a new heap is more attractive to slow worms as it's breaking down. I am very jealous of your slow worms!

Ive never had a hedgehog in my bin but every year l get a family of mice nesting in between the layers, l carefully emptied some of the compost out and found the little babies, thank goodness l didn't dive straight in with the fork l carefully placed them to one side cosy in a plant pot with moss inside emptied a bit out then placed them back in where upon Mummy mouse came back and during the summer saw them climb my bird stand to pinch the peanuts and sunflower seeds!

I have a pile of old bits of wood next to my compost bin and last year I found 2 toads sheltering there, with yellow stripes down their backs. My slugs have not been so bothersome this year, so my old bits of wood are there to stay.


I often find slow worm nests in mine.  I count myself very fortunate!

Unfortunately many years ago I 'harpooned' a little frog, and it has stayed with me ever point is don't use a fork or spade or anything metal, as I had been working my way down the compost for an hour or so before this had happened, so I hadn't "...plunge your fork straight in the heap..." in fact I never would do that, but I have found especially with toads, that they just sink further and further down into the middle of the pile in order to stay 'hidden' so this sort of accident is more likely to happen at the end rather than at the beginning. Oh for the weather to get on with my composting!! P.s. I use my hands now and it takes hours but I feel happier

Never thought about toads or frogs in my bin,so thanks for warning,i shall be more careful now.

Peat B

Finding wildlife in the compo bin is the worst thing in the gardening day, oop t'lotty. I have found bumble bees, a rats nest, sow bugs, (wood lice) and a multitude of wrigglies, crawlies and buzzers.  I HATE causing distress to the wee critturs, but as there are some 6 bins, barrels, tubs and bins for compost making, I do have a choice of compost to use.  No toads yet, but an occasional froggie goes wooing out into the damp nights from a bin quite often. I think a second pond is called for, for the use of toads, should they desire. I would also welcome newts, sober preferred !

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