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Am I the only person that does this?  Remembering my biology lessons and things having a greater surface area being more efficient (just think surface area of lungs).  Things will obviously rot down quicker if they are chopped up, I'd like to know I'm not bonkers because I roughly chop things like cabbage leaves and broccoli stalks.

I'm probably certifiable in other things I do, I'd just like to know this is one area of my life where I'm relatively sane.

My ambition in life is to have enough money when I'm older to be regarded as 'eccentric'.  Not just poor and plain loony.

Woodgreen wonderboy

Hi, MMP...I only chop up big, woody stuff, like brocolli stalks, although I try to eat most of it if I can...  

Highland Jeannie

I wonder about this too, we always chop up the banana skins; this is our first composting year.

Our bins are not in a "hot" place & of the beehive type, which I have read are not as efficient as other types.


Most of my kitchen waste is peelings etc but if I find something like a wrinkly apple or fossilised orange, I do chop those up. Can't do any harm, can it?

hollie hock

Your are not alone, I chop up large leaves like caulis and sometimes chop up the ends of carrots,parsnips etc. I often rip up bits of paper and cardboard as well.



I just bung it all on the heap.


i just put the lot in when i get  a bucket full . and i use beehives no problems at all they work for me . 


I chuck mine straight in. Grapefruit skins, banana skins, teabags, the lot - into my black dalek bins. Quick shake up with the stirrer once a fortnight - comes out loverly, black brown and crumbly. 


I chop up huge outer cabbage leaves and stems into smaller chunks, but I don't chop them small.


We just bung it all on.  We keep adding for a year, then scrape the top off, use the bottom and start again for the next year.  All seems to rot down fine.  Have just started to use this year's lot.

I'm sure chopping will get you there quicker - but waiting a year suits us fine.


Got a compost bin coming any day so I will test the theories!

I also chop the largest or chunkiest into more 'bite size' chunks. Egg shells, i have discoverd, are definately better to be crumbled.


Holliehock, sorry to bang on about the compost course, but they told us to scrunch up paper so that it helps the air get into the heap/bin.

MMP; With industrial composting, everything is shredded I guess to speed up the composting and to help everything to compost at the same rate.

I certainly cut up the thick base of a cabbage that would otherwise take ages to breakdown.

artjak, I scrunch the brown paper packing that I sometimes get in my Amazon deliveries, but never buy a newspaper, so all I have to add to my heap are the inside of toilet rolls, obviously these can't be scrunched, what is the best way to add them to the heap?  At the minute I rip them into bits, would they be better put through my paper shredder?  Other cardboard either goes into school for the children to create things with, or if it's not fit for that it goes into the recycling bin - I don't put any paper or card into the heap that has a glossy surface, as I've heard that takes a long time to break down (as it's water-resistant).

Did you learn anything on the compost course about adding ash?  I am generating a bit (surprisingly little, given the amount I'm burning), as I can't get all of the bramble into the green bin, so the dead bits I'm chucking into a dustbin burner, and just the green stuff goes into the green bin.

It's interesting to see there seems to be a 50/50 split between the choppers-up and the chuckers-in.

Glad to see I'm not on my own with chopping though!


I don't chop when it goes in, but after a while and a few good stirs, I will set the garden sheers to it. Works a treat but it's hard work on the arms.


hollie hock

Hi artjak, all hints and tips grateful received I don't buy any papers but do put a lot of the paper bills in there (I have a darlek type composter), so will do the scrunching in future.

Gold1locks, is the stirrer any good?

I chop up very chunky stuff and any woody prunings. I dampen egg boxes, toilet roll tubes etc. It all seems to compost down eventually. I ram a garden fork down into it occasionally to get some air in and add some urine now and then (boyfriend obligingly fills up a milk bottle or two - no flashing in the garden involved). I can bore for Britain on the subject of compost! I make leaf mould too - start it in bin bags and then as they start to break down, add the leaves to some old pedal bins I have which are basically wormeries now. It makes lovely compost, though never as much as I hope when I seem to be sweeping up tonnes of leaves in the Autumn. And I now have Bukashi bins breaking down anything that can't go on the compost bins (cooked food, bread, meat). Am ridiculously excited about the smelly liquid feed that I am starting to get from my first "full and cooking" Bukashi bin - should make the tomatoes happy, if they ever grow big enough to plant out!


Ginglyg-do you think we all need to get out more....

I used to get loads of leaf mould in a previous garden as I had a couple of mature about 10 black bags plus a purpose built mesh cage (about  a cubic metre size) every year. Brilliant stuff 

I am fairly new to gardening,  but just chuck it in.  Last years compost was a bit green and wet but that was because I foolishly just chucked in grass clippings and the odd bit of newspaper!  I emptied it out and mixed it up with small wood chippings to get it going again.  Can I scrunch up sheets of newspaper paper and chuck in rather than spending ages ripping it up into small pieces?