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Composting Issues

I have a compost bin (the larger one here: from the Council, as we have no garden waste collection (I do not drive so cannot go to the Recycling Centre with waste).

I have had this for five years - initially when I moved in i had a lot of clearing to do, cutting back of shrubs and plants. I fear I failed to make the hard woody content small enough (no shredder) and it was mostly woody - no lawn/grass (even so eight bags x2 a year for first 4 years I paid to have uplifted).

Five years on I have still had no usable compost despite adding compost makers/enhancer products. I could not turn it. Occasionally it broke down enough to add some more substance.  Five and half years on I need to move the composter to put in a log store.  The bottom of the composter now has some very rough compost,  still with identifiable twigs in it. It is not hot in the the least but I had the foresight to keep out tap-root or perennial weeds from the composter (I knew that much).

I intend to decant it all into green reusable garden waste bags, and maybe an £12 woven textile bag type composter.

Q1 I know I can use the rough stuff as the base layers of my new raised beds: but can I put down the unbroken down compost as the base layer  in the deeper (600mm) raised beds I am making (pallet crates)? (if not I hope to manage to decant it/offer it to the allotment associatiation who I am guessing will have a compost heap or two- I will offer them the composter too).

Q2 Going forward, (and bearing in mind I live in NE Scotland on the coast, 200 m from the beach...and although sheltered, the garden is windy at times), is a wormery or is a new smaller  composter the best option (open wooden or galvanised rubbish bin type that I can turn)
We are a family of two - one teen and have a regular food waste collection by the council (but uncooked worm-friendly food could be collected)?
Do worms eat any garden waste?

I can now  better manage and will have much more limited woody waste (still no grass) though I have more (now mostly weed free)  flower beds, planters and containers now in our back garden is about 40 m sq and the shrubs are now more manageable ...the fifteen odd 20 ft roses are now waist height as are the 4 honeysuckles and two philadephus, the crown of the lilac is reduced by 3/4 to about 6 m2, the buddleia gone, and the gean tree with its drain-invading roots sending up shooters 6 m away, and telephone wire interfering crown also gone,  though the 60 year old fuschia tree requires careful controlling;  the front (containers/raised beds) is about 6m sq (all containers/raised beds or will be).  (The garden was very, very overgrown: I had, the summer before last 12 garden waste bags of honeysuckle and climbing hydrangea waste, plus the 4 bags of ivy the tree surgeon took away to burn...and the lilac/gean prunings).

Supplementary question: can you put hardwood fire ash on beds or dig it in?



  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    A decent shredder costs a lot of money, and the cheapest ones aren't much good.  Maybe you could get together with some other gardeners and buy one that you could all use?

    You can certainly put your kitchen waste, other than meat, fish and dairy, in the compost bin.  My local council collects food waste, and as we're vegetarian, they get nothing out of us!  My veg scraps go in the compost, but not until I've boiled them for stock.

    You say you couldn't turn it, how were you trying to do it?  For about £15, you can buy a widget with two jagged-edged "wings" that open out, which mixes and aerates the compost, and gives all your major muscle groups a workout at the same time.  Another way to mix it is to have two bins, and every now and then, empty one into the other.

    I've just posted the same question about wood ash, so watch this space!

  • Thanks - the space is an issue: any compost bin will have to be smaller (and I am not keen for a 6 year turn around on compost). There should be much less woody waste - some veg stuff maybe for green but not that much. 
    I wonder if the allotment association has a shredder (am member but waiting still for my allotment as I climb up the list). 

    I think most of the waste now will be kitchen waste and the odd plant, and some prunings from shrubs (but small amounts given past experience).

  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845
    edited March 2019
    I have three daleks. I fill one a year, with all our food waste and end of life paper scraps.  All garden waste is heaped, but that requires space.  Once the worms get a good foothold in the dalek it ticks over well, but really we get surprisingly little return.  Save for a more sanitary household.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,233
    Have a look on gumtree for a shredder. When our old one broke we bought a nearly new one (hardly used) for £30.
    Make sure it has a wetting now and again. Get the boys in the family to pee on it occasionally. If shy use a bucket in the garage.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,279
    Yes, you can put wood ash on the flower beds. It is the original form of potash. Try not to pour it directly onto growing plants though.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
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