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Compost beyond hope?

We've just moved into a new house and I was delighted to discover a compost bin at the back of the garden... However upon further inspection  it looks like this inside: 

Is it beyond hope? I opened the hatch at the bottom, there's about maybe 6 inches of compost/soil looking stuff but the rest is just this dry cuttings. 

If it can be reactivated, what should I add? Veg peelings, egg shells, some bought compost? Wood ashes from the log burner? Water it? Some sort of activator? 

Or pull it all out and start again? 


  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,343
    I would pull it all out and start again from scratch but utilising the stuff taken from the bin and then gradually adding your own stuff.Break up some of the longer drier bits so you get a good mixture!
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,087
    I agree with mad penguin, empty it out and start again. Just be careful when you do, not to injure any possible wildlife in there, e.g. hibernating hedgehog. Don't go sticking a fork in ! It is very dry and looks quite woody, possibly chop it up a bit more.
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,286
    edited December 2018
    I think I would empty the bin, and give the stuff a mix up and pop it all back in.
    If dry all through then add a bit of water. You can use something to activate it but this time of year I am not sure it will heat up much, depends what kind of bin you have there.
    Do you have any lawn cuttings or soft greens you can add to add moisture if it is too much dry brown waste.

    Looks like it might be square?

    And are there worms present lower down?

    Edit to add. See the bit with a berry on? take care, that is pyracantha, it has nasty thorns I am sure you will see, I would take those bits out if you find them. They take ages to break down and those spikes really hurt. 
  • It is square... Like a dalek but with corners. 
    Maybe I'll wait until spring when any hibernators are safe to be woken up and we can add some grass cuttings in and try and get it going again. We've nothing in bulk to add at this stage other than more of the same from the garden. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,087
    Probably a good idea to get it going in the Spring, as you say, you'll have more stuff to add to it. Just please remember to empty it carefully (watch out for that pyracantha!). Sorry to go on, but my local hedgehog rescue has had hogs come in with terrible injuries where people have stuck forks into compost heaps and bins. Good luck with your composting !  :)  
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,286
    Good Luck and Happy Gardening in your new home. I am sure you have plenty to do.

    The door bits on bins are usually a bit faffy and hopeless for getting compost out.
    I lift our bins off (though they are the smaller daleks so easier to do) then you can push the stuff about to make sure you are not forking anything.

    If you have space, get another bin started with what you have. Composting can be addictive >:):D
  • Thanks for the tips guys, I shall definitely be very careful, I love hedgehogs so certainly wouldn't want to accidentally hurt one. I have a feeling there won't be anything in there as my dogs haven't taken a bit of notice of the bin since we moved and they normally go a bit nuts if they think there's a hedgehog around 🦔

    This bin is a bit broken down, so I reckon I'll get a couple of new ones and start again in spring. Will get hubby to pull those sticks out and chop them up small and then mix it all together and put in the new bin with some fresh stuff for some moisture.

    Wish me luck! 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 28,479
    I concur re the addictive nature of compost making.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 36,924
    If you get a dry day or two, you could always empty the contents into a few black bin bags [ after a mix around, as the others have said] so that you can sort out the old bin and get rid of it if you want.
    If you dampen it, and make a few holes in the bags, it will still carry on breaking down until you get new bins  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Hostafan1 said:
    I concur re the addictive nature of compost making.😲 wow! What's all going in your compost?! I wish we had a garden that big, my dogs do too! 
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