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There is a very good article on our website showing you how to build a compst bin but it is open and not water tight or keeps out the light
I thought that it had to be enclosed and dry so the best conditions were created to increase heat and stop the rain getting in
I find that the dalek plastic type (council or rotol) are best for initial rot down. It seems to keep the heat in better. If it is only half full, I put an old compost bag on top. The compost has to be wet to rot down. I find the open top sort let grass etc dry out too much. I have a bigger tardis type(square with a lid, I use for final maturation. Because it has ventilation holes in the side, often the edges are not fully rotted and dry andwhen I empty it for use, I have to shove the dry stuffback in and wet it.
I have 4 daleks - two at home and two on the allotment. I use them on an annual rotation i.e. one left to rot down while the other one is filled. I find it takes a year to rot in the dalek but I am very pleased with the result at the end of the year i.e. brown and crumbly and no smell. I do however keep an eye on them and slosh some water on to help (see fidgetbones comments).
Mine was an open wooden one Newboy, but I converted it a bit by putting a breathable fabric round three sides and I turn the mix regularly and check to see that it's not dried out as it has quite a bit of cover from conifers behind it. I have a sheet of plastic on the top as well but will make a proper lid next year. It seems to be working as there was a fair bit of heat in it the other day when I turned it!
I find that turning helps to get more air into the mix, and accelerates rotting. Two daleks at right, go into one rotol (middle). Two to three rotol fills goes into one tardis (left of picture.) If its dry when I turn it into the next bin, I turn the hose on it. Als o getting the men of the house to pee on it helps.
Tardis will fill up all summer and left all winter, and be used next spring.
One of the daleks will have all peelings etc over the winter. When the grass gets its first cut, the winter kitchen bits get a good mixing with the grass cuttings. Hedge trimmings and buddleja cut down get shredded, mixed with grass cuttings, and stand well back. The heat build up is quick, and the level will drop by half in two weeks.
O it was my understanding that it was best to have air holes/ventilation and turn the compost often and keep it wet.Also to have a mix of green and then brown
brown being twigs, news paper, cardboard you get the idea
brown will add extra air into the compost bin where as the green will add wet also adding water and a old pice of carpet to the top to stop seeds germi and also to keep the heat in is a good idea
just a clueless gardeners thoughts
here is the link for gardeners world compost bins
Some people make layers. eg grass cuttings, then drier stuff like prunings. I find that mixing it up makes it heat up faster. Air is added every time you turn it. If there is too many grass cuttings and nothing to hold the bits apart, it just tends to form a slimy layer with no air in it. If I have too much grass and nothing to mix it with I rip up the free papers that come through the door(other newspapers are just as good) and mix that in.
FB do you put the news paper through a shreader (paper) first ??
No, I just rip it into strips or crumple it up into balls.
I use wooden pallets to make my compost bins with a tarp over the top. I turn it every few months or so and never have a problem. I do add rotting horse manure to it that is full of red worms though and I pee on it a lot.
Never buy compost activator - male urine is as good if not better. If you can't get male urine then use comfrey tea.
Think it's a good combination of all of the above James and NewBoy! I was told guinea pig poo was one of the best activators and a friend was looking after some when the grandkids were on holiday so I got her to bag it for me! I have access to horse manure too so there's a good barrowload of that mixed in as well as the usual green stuff and paper, plus ventilation and moisture and a good turning now and then. Seems to be working well.
FG- have you done any research comparing male and female piddle?
I have a lizard would you compost the bedding (Beachwood shavings) I intend to buy horse manure as well two or three bags a month (only .50p per bag)
Question how long would straw take to break down or do you try and remove it ??
FG - not much but If I recall (from some old programme) ladywee isn't as good.
I put loads of straw into my heap with the horse manure. Somethimes it's much more straw and wood shavings than manure. If you have a decent sized heap that heats up well it starts to break down really quickly.
FG - it's not like wine tasting
Most horses aren't bedded on straw now James mainly shavings but it all helps the mix so don't remove. Straw breaks down quicker than shavings though. Don't know about the lizard, except that if it's not a veggie I'd say no!
The only reason I suggest its a male job, is that its hard work balancing on top of the heap for us females.
I could use a bucket I suppose.
The lizard bedding and stable manure, I would just mix it well in, and make sure its wet.
Don't know about lizards, but tortoises carry salmonella and I wouldn't want that going into my heap.