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Advice needed on composting

As the price of the green bin in our council just keeps going up and up, I think it is time for me to start investing in some proper compost bins. However as I am new to composting, I would like some advice on what to get and what I need to do. :)

I am looking to mostly compost garden waste, which consists of grass clippings, weeds, hedge trimmings and lots and lots of fallen leaves (there are quite a lot of trees around here and my garden is currently covered in leaves). We have quite a bit of space at the back of our garden where we could install some compost bins, but the only issue is that this area does not get a lot of sunlight. Would this be a problem for compost bins?

If possible, I would also like to compost some food waste, as this is currently not collected by our council and it tends to smell up our black bin, especially during summer. I know food waste isn't great to compost though, but maybe if I have a separate bin for the food waste it might be alright? Or is there a different way to get rid of food waste? We do not have a lot of it, but we sometimes have raw meat (cut-offs), eggshells, vegetables... possibly wet cat food that the cats didn't finish. :wink:
I have no space inside the house, only space outside (and currently do not yet own a shed), so it would have to be something I can keep outside.

So my question is, what type of bin would be good for garden waste, and what type of bin would be good for food waste? Is there one that can handle both? Does it matter if the bins are in a shady area of the garden?

Any tips and tricks are very welcome! Right now I really want to start clearing the leaves, but I have nowhere to put them so looking forward to a solution for that. :)


  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,306
    There is a Hot Bin you can get that will deal with kitchen waste,more info here:-
    Others can probably help more with 'ordinary' composting.
    A lot depends on what sort of space you have for composting.
    I would dearly love a compost bin but space will not allow  :( so I have to pay for the council green bin (kitchen waste caddy is taken weekly).
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • NiniSNiniS Posts: 18
    Thanks for the post madpenguin! I had looked at hot composting bins before, but wasn't sure if it was any good and if it works in a shady area. Will have to look into it some more. :)

    We have a narrow but very long garden, with quite a bit of space at the back which is currently not being used for anything. I have put down some ground cover membrane in that area to keep out the weeds, but I can easily take some of that up to put in a compost bin. I have enough space there to put in a few bins (either cones or the big wooden bins, or both).
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,286
    For food waste have a look at wormeries.
    There was also a post about some other thing for food waste a couple of weeks ago cannot remember what it was called or who posted it. I don't think it was the same thing as madpenguin posted.

    For compost bins I would add vegetable waste just not the meaty component. I use Daleks. I just use a bit of chicken wire under the ones I do put some cooked food waste in to make sure we don't get any uninvited guests for dinner.

    If you are not in a hurry check out freecycle etc for compost bins, also the local tip at times can be a good source for plastic bins if they have a shop area. I have bought a "dalek" bin for just five pounds from ours, and it was like new. Even subsidized ones through council schemes though cheap are not that cheap. :)
    If you are keen I would get both to try. See what you like best. Some find "Daleks or plastic bins harder to use, they can get too wet or dry depends what materials you have to put in them. I think wooden bins breath a bit more.

    If you have a lot of grass (for example) and a plastic bin, you have to find somewhere to put it until needed, or you have enough other ingredients to add with a plastic bin, or you end up with a sloppy wet mess.  Too often people see them as a tidy way to stash unwanted lawn waste and it does not work sadly.
    It can still happen with wooden bins, but I think they are a little less inclined to get so wet.

    Depending on the amount of leaves you have, I would do those separately if you have a large volume. Just tied in bags in a corner is okay . But a dedicated bin for them to rot separately might be worthwhile. I used to have a wooden stacker one, mine was a bit on show. But you can do a cheap wire cage if you want to experiment.
    Sounds like you have a nice composting area tucked away ready for use.
  • Paul NPaul N Bearsted, KentPosts: 302
    I bought a Blackwell Products 'Tumbler Composter' yesterday, secondhand, for £25. We had two one metre cube wooden composters in the last garden and because I didn't turn the compost as Monty recommends, I would take three or so years to become decent compost. Now we have a much smaller garden, we won't have a lot of material to compost. Grass cuttings and shredded paper will be the main ingredients. Lets see how quickly the tumbler makes good compost.

  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,628
    I don't put cooked food or any meat into my compost. To prevent smells I freeze it until bin day. You can buy various types of compost bin and spend a fortune if you have one but it isn't difficult to make one very economically. There will be lots of tips and advice online.
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