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Emma Crawforth

Hello Flora3,

The best way to speed up the rate at which your waste composts, is to keep turning it over. To do this, you need either a bin you can turn, or a bin that's large enough for you to get into, with a fork, in order to turn it yourself (like one made from pallets). It's a good idea to have two bins, then you can transfer material from one to the other. Make sure the compost is not to wet and not too dry, either state will prevent it from rotting down well. Good luck, it's really worth keeping going as compost makes a great mulch / soil conditioner, and your plants will grow so much better for it.

Emma team

if i was to use a large plastic tub would i need to cut the bottom out first to make compost
Virtually all commercial packaging now has a thin printed film on it, which remains as a thin membrane which blocks circulation of moisture, air and bacteria in your bin and in the soil, FOREVER.

Got mine on concrete this year due to a problem with a rat nesting in last years, but hasnt worked at all. Got horrible, smelly sludge !!!!


Hi everyone, Im a beginner at this topic. I would like you to enlighten me on what to do next after my compost is ready.

Or thats it? from that corner of my garden is giving its nutrients to all the soil around?

sorry if I sound very naive but I have no clue. Thanks.

I only know about compost made in an open-sided DIY compost heap constructed out of old pallets and bits of chicken wire. I have never used one of these fancy bin jobs and don't have a clue how they work. If your compost was made in one of them I can't help at all. However, if you have been chucking greenery, kitchen waste, old newspapers, vaccuum cleaner contents, rabbit bedding etc etc onto an open topped, open-sided DIY jobbie in the corner of the garden this is what you do:

First, the top layer will not be compost yet, so you need another identical construction beside your existing compost heap onto which you can throw the top layer. This will become the bottom layer of compost heap #2.

When you get down to a layer that looks like soft brown stuff with hardly any identifyable objects in it, that is your compost. Grab a fork and a wheelbarrow and start forking all the lovely stuff out of the heap and into the barrow. Stuff around the edges will resemble the stuff that you took off the top - dry, still identifiable as leaves etc. - this has to get thrown onto compost heap #2.

When you have taken out as much as you can from the heap, you can then wander round your garden and award plants that have done well a little and coax plants that have not been doing very well to do better with a little.

You will notice that it doesn't go far. A bucketful round a rose bush looks pathetic. But it will be full of useful beasties and fungi and all sorts of stuff that the rose will appreciate.

I generally do this in spring. The reason for this is that the plants are just beginning to grow again and that is when they need food. They don't need compost in winter as they are asleep. The rain of winter will wash all the goodness out of the compost and waste it.

If you have good compost now, don't wait until spring. You can give it to trees and shrubs that are still growing. You can make more compost over the winter and put that on the plants next spring too.

By having two compost heaps going, you can have one that is fresh and being added to on a daily basis and one that is "cooking" and almost ready for spreading.

Tricia Muddyboots

I agree - two compost heaps are essential.  It's important to vary the contents.  Mix grass cuttings with screwed-up newspaper, cardboard or straw, etc, so you don't get a lump of sludge.  I find that eggshells and avocado shells don't compost, but I put in all other vegetable matter I can lay my hands on - and turn the lot once in winter.  In spring I seive the well-rotted compost at the bottom if I want to use it for seedlings.

First time allotment holder,never grown a thing in my life.Starting making compost should I add farmyard manure. roy

If you have a large amount, stack it on its own and cover with a tarpaulin or similar to keep it damp and the nutrients from leaching out. Use when well rotted, crumbly and no smell.

If you only have a small amount,mix it in your compost heap.


I agree with fbones, it's a great compost activator

Hi, I have moved home and now have inherited a large garden. There is already a compost next to the veg patch and at the bottom of the tub at an opening there appeared to be an ants nest in it. Can I still use this or should I get rid of it and start again? I have not used any of it so all remains in the large container that its in. I saw this in August and have just left it not knowing what to do. Any advice is welcome, thanks.

Hi Moorethemerrier - give the heap a good stir and add any new material you have for it on top. Once disturbed, the ants will move on. 


I have rabbits, they are bedded on newspaper and mainly straw- is this waste OK to compost if I make sure there is equal green matter?

Rabbit bedding and droppings/urine are fantastic  additions to a compost heap - they really get it working well.  Lucky you!

Guinea pig 'manure' is brilliant too - a former colleague used to bring me a bin bag of guinea pig poo to the office every week for my compost heap   She used to leave it under my car in hot weather so it was in the shade and didn't get too smelly.  It caused alarm once as I worked at a Child Protection office and the security chap thought someone had put a bomb under my car!  Fortunately we were able to reassure him and he got used to it being there on a Friday.

I have 2 compost bins. As regards weeds, as long as you remove the root ball the heat created will break down most things. I put brambles and dock leaves in mine and never had re-sprouting occur. Potatoe peel and tea bags don't seem to degrade quick enougth for me but I know other gardeners use them. Turning the compost from March on a regular 2 week period and watering when drying out occurs. Make sure all grass cuttings are balanced equal with green waste and mixed in well. I normally get about 6 bags of 50 litre compost bags. Great for mulching around your plants 


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