London (change)
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02/01/2013 at 15:45

Hi Sam

Been out sorting out a few buckets of veg scraps and other bits today into compost bin, compost outside filling up nicely did notice a hole in one compost bin a rat maybe but not there when I put compost in- sure it must have just popped in for a bit of food and left

Have you sorted out your compost heap a bit more?

02/01/2013 at 16:01

Palaisglide, many thanks for explanation, I love how low tech that system was; no cost, no fossil fuels. I have pig farming and horsey neighbours to supply fuel but don't have the space to set something loke that up.

02/01/2013 at 17:20

Artjak, all things change, my Daughter was worried on Christmas day about keeping things warm, she needed the oven space. I said have you got a cold box, she had so I lined the bottom and sides with newspaper put the dishes in she wanted to keep warm then covered it with more paper and towel. I moved on for lunch with second daughter, first rang me to say it had worked perfectly. I learned how to use hay boxes in the army and a cooler can be that or a hay box, I often used one like that when cooking for the family.
My Son has stables and horses but they do not use straw, wood chippings are not the same for heat generation, pig manure on its own is not good although mixed with horse it will work. I have heard of hot boxes using just compost though they would not reach the heat a proper box would.
Rough double digging in Autumn let winter do the work raking and manuring  early spring and let the worms do the work, sow two rows for yourself and one for the beasties, it all works, those gardening Dads knew what they were doing.


02/01/2013 at 19:41

Hi Gardengirl,

I didn't get to me heap today. Ended up out last night and was a little later in getting up today. Also have had a revolving door in the house as people have been coming and going all day lol. I did go down and had a look at it and feel that it may be a little large? Its 5 foot by 3 foot. I think I could actually get away with splitting it and making two as was suggested. So, that's tomorrows job as well as taking some of the leaves out and adding some soaked nettles to add a little more green. It seems to be a real skill in composting as well so need to investigate more I think  There are gaps in the sides where I had placed a length of wood about an inch deep in between the planks when putting it together. I will hunt for some large cardboard boxes and line it at the same time to try and create more heat. Goodness, just shows you, I thought you just threw it all in and left it lol 

02/01/2013 at 21:01

Sam, I have applied to learn how to be a 'compost master', I don't yet know if I have got on to the course in April; places are limited. If I do get on to it I promise you all I will bore you to death with info about compost!

02/01/2013 at 21:09
artjak wrote (see)

Sam, I have applied to learn how to be a 'compost master', I don't yet know if I have got on to the course in April; places are limited. If I do get on to it I promise you all I will bore you to death with info about compost!

Artjak...I will be your bestest friend if you do  

Our own compost guru. Sounds great. I will hold you to that

02/01/2013 at 21:09

Hi Artjak - is this one of the courses run by/in conjuncton with Norfolk County Council?

02/01/2013 at 21:56

Yes it is Dove. Have you been on one of them?

03/01/2013 at 13:26

How long does the composting course last?
After telling you you need "Air Heat Some Moisture" then saying you can mix anything in apart from hard woods sawdust and perenial weeds but do not layer more than an inch or so at a time, mix it as you go and damp from a watering can as you fill, not a hose, What more can they say?
Was once dragged to a Gardening class by BIL and did pricking out potting on and how to look after house plants for three months before packing it in, all things I had done as a lad with my Father, I was waiting for the new stuff that never came, went to cookery school instead.
Some subjects are more common sense than learning so assuming it is not free I ask why?


03/01/2013 at 14:24

Palais, the course lasts, I think,one or two days. The 'graduates' are then expected to be sort of 'compost ambassadors', i.e. being invited to gardening clubs and W.I. groups etc to give help and advice on composting. As we know from these forums there is quite a lot of misinformation and confusion about composting. The reason that I want to do it is because I am passionate about composting as a brilliant way to recycle.

03/01/2013 at 16:42

Artjak, I agree with you on composting and recycling which I do religiously filling the appropriate boxes and bins also having a shed and garage full of stuff I may need one day. Can never find it when I want it though.
Composting has always been one of my garden chores although over many years I have discovered some things work and others are best left to the Green Waste collectors, lawn grass being one of those things. I do put a thin layer on my compost, but there is too much of it normally.
I have seen the Green Waste heaps, high as the JCB bucket will reach and steaming from the heat they reach because they are first shredded then turned on a regular basis. I did hear at one time they were taking butchers waste and laying it on the bottom although not now most is bagged up in quantity for potting compost as we cannot get Peat.
I even recycle potting soil by riddling it then into an old micro wave before mixing with sand and fine grit as a seed mix, if you do not have an old micro wave put it into a bucket pour boiling water on it and then dry out. It will get seeds away though no good for potting on.
I have discovered the best compost is made by turning the heap every few weeks, toss it into a barrow, stir it around and toss it back, better than a weekend in the Gym any day.


03/01/2013 at 21:40

Palais, I have one of those pointed tools that opens and closes like a 2 dimensional umbrella, that you dig into the dalek bin and pull up and that turns the compost; it is v. good exercise! As a child, our compost heap was the size of an average room and my father and brother would attack it now and then with pitchforks.

03/01/2013 at 21:50
Dovefromabove wrote (see)

Hi Artjak - is this one of the courses run by/in conjuncton with Norfolk County Council?

artjak wrote (see)

Yes it is Dove. Have you been on one of them?

No I haven't, but I keep seeing them advertised/promoted - I'll be interested in what you make of them. 

03/01/2013 at 21:59

Dove; I applied last spring, but just missed that April's course, so if you are interested I strongly recommend that you apply now, also with council cuts the course may not exist for much longer.

03/01/2013 at 22:05

Sadly no time at the moment, what with full-time work for said local authority, plus elderly parents to visit, family to spend time with and a garden to tend (I too am supposed  to be a painter, but what with all the other calls on my time ....  .... roll on retirement ).  I'll have to rely on your Ambassadorial talents 

03/01/2013 at 22:56

Yes I know the tool you mention Artjak and very useful, i just prefer taking out the front slats of one of the heaps and using a fork toss it out and back, replacing the slats as I go the same end product only quicker.
I told my son to make a long heap on his farm so as you add to one end you can take compost from the back, he has plenty of room so no problem and we can turn it with the JCB.
Gardeners are tied by the room allowed and in some of the new build gardens down the lane they are lucky to get a Dalek in, a square of lawn back and front a garden shed and a clothes line although some manage to produce food crops. If the spirit is willing there is always a way.

PS Artjak my name is Frank, the Palais Glide bit was forced on me by the misplaced electronic madness we call board sign in, you would have seen a demonstration of the dance on the History of Ballroom dancing

03/01/2013 at 23:01

Do all local councils have these courses, Think I will look into it tomorrow

04/01/2013 at 14:25

Frank, I didn't know if I had permission to call you Frank; thanks.

Sam, I don't know, I guess it is in the council's interest to have people composting as much as possible to keep stuff out of landfill.

14/01/2013 at 22:28

Hello Sam getting any where with your compost heap?

I think I will have to add another layer to my wormery as getting a bit fuller and the worms need to climb up another layer, so I will be able to use the compost from the bottom layer in spring may be great if I get to use the compost.

15/01/2013 at 10:30
Fantastic mine is doin great. Im working on my household layer which will get added today and the Im going to go and collect some garden stuff from my neighbour for another later on today then mix it up a little. Thinking about a wormery too now
What else are you upto in the gsrden?
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