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Er... I chuck everything in whole, ranging from pizza delivery boxes to butternut squash and cabbages. Husband always chops up stuff, but frankly I'm too lazy!
MMP and others; centres of loo rolls and kitchen paper rolls, put in whole; again to bring air into heap so that it is aerobic (not slimy and anaerobic - lacking air) that is why one only puts small amounts of grass cuttings in, layered with something dry and airy.
For stirring my 'daleks' I use an arrow type tool that I got from Centre for Alternative Technology some years ago; works well, I believe other places online do them too.
Fortunately the grass on our lawns is so sparse we are only able to put small amounts of grass cuttings into our compost bins . Everything we buy from the Farm Shop (i.e. most of our food) comes in old fashioned brown paper bags - we put them in the compost along with the peelings and outer leaves etc. We also are the happy recipients of donated guinea pig poo and bedding (based on newspaper pellets) and these, along with recycled beer and cider (as recommended by Bob Flowerdew) seems to produce jolly good compost
Artjak - were you one of the Compost Masters at County Hall today?
Sue as artjak says the idea is to create a bit of air as well so I would guess crumpling the paper would be the right idea, but art's done a course so just ask!!
I don't particularly chop up bits before they go in the compost. I do put in shredded paper and some newspaper - try to stir the compost - but not that easy in the black dalek type we have ! However have just emptied one of our composters and wow what great compost it is !!! Also "found" a long lost kitchen gadget - litlle tweezer type tool that takes the stalks out of the strawberries !!! Wondered it had gone !! Have found long lost potato peelers in compost bins before !!
Dove, you know I live nearly 60 miles from Norwich, so sadly, no, I wasn't. Next time you are passing by, leave me a message and drop in and tell me all about it.
I just wondered whether they'd have paid you to go and impart your knowledge - but I ought to know better than that
I wasn't there either - meetings all day.
However, we might just take you up on that - I take my coffee black - no sugar
Sue6, just scrunch up the paper, see above, the idea is to get loads of air into the mix. Without air it is just a dank soggy smelly pile. I am no scientist, so cannot explain why, but the mix of air and green/wettish and brown/dryish vegetation (which includes paper - made from trees) makes 'black gold'; compost. The mix should be 50/50
Oh Artjak, does that mean I have to measure stuff? I lob in stuff as it comes, sometimes chopped up if it looks a bit chunky...but I do mix it regularly, add some water if it looks dry, a sprinkling of dried chicken poo seems to help.
Maybe I ought to train Bloke to add his bit...but while we're on that point, is women's wee useless?
Thanks artjak for the info re loo rolls ...........didn't think that would be ever a phrase that I used
Apparently women's wee isn't useless, but male pee is less acidic and works better, if you have some readily available
figrat, I don't believe that female pee is in any way inferior as a compost accelerator to male pee Either way, some people think that it should be diluted. Also; if your compost is working for you then just carry on doing it intuitively; that is all I do.The 50/50 rule is worth remembering when the compost is NOT doing it's stuff, then we have the knowledge to rectify it.
A cautionary tale about compost; I have been hearing over the last couple of days about a chap in the next village who had a compost heap next to his wooden shed; he fed it with chicken manure, it over-heated, caught fire and his shed went up in flames with valuable tools in it. So we need to make sure that our compost heaps/bins are situated safely.
Yep, chop up things and they compost quicker, what I would say is careful of citrus, I tend to put the odd orange peel in, but not like 12 oranges worth in one go. Reason being worms really don't like citrus, and as worms are the main guys who break down the rough stuff, it's sense to keep them onside.
Someone asked about ash in compost; on the course I asked about this as I burn a mixture of coal and logs. The answer is;
Wood ash =good
They did allow that I could have a very small amount of the mixed ash.
It was me that asked about wood ash (I am burning all of the brambles I'm chopping out). It's good that I can add wood ash.
Someone pointed out that coal ash makes a good barrier that slugs won't cross, I know if will eventually get into the soil, but in small amounts I can't see it being too much of a problem, especially in a flower garden where it has no chance of getting into the food chain.
Personally I can't see a problem; my brother when aged about 2 used to eat coal and yellow laundry soap.