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Inherited an old solid compost bin... help!

When we bought our house, the previous owners left behind their compost bin. We're starting to do up the garden (pretty much complete novices) and discovered that the compost bin is full but the material inside is one hard giant lump. It's really heavy so we can't move it and we don't know what to do with it. If we water it, will the lump soften? Will the compost be usable?

Thanks in advance for any help or tips!

Posts

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    Maybe I guess. Can you form a well in the top, fill it with water and see it if starts to soften? I would say if you can get it workable, it could be used at best as a soil condition.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,104
    I would try and break it with a spade. Fill the bin with grass clippings and water. It will break down over time.
  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,087
    edited April 2020
    Obviously it sound like it’s been left to dry out 
    I would water it to see if the contents break down. I would then empty the contents out and check to see what in there 
    Hopefully, it will contain grass cutting, dead plant foliage, kitchen waste ie; potato peeling, banana skins plus green kitchen waste. Also some brown material from pruned twigs, cardboard and leaves 
    If this is the case then you are very fortunate, if not, then you will need to balance the mixture with approximately 50% or Green waste and 50% of brown waste to ensure good quality garden compost that will break down much faster and be a good soil conditioner or mulch for your garden 
    The compost will need turning. By that I mean it will needs taking out on the bin, mixed together and placed back in to the bin. I would ensure the bin is located in a sunny site so that it gets hot enough to help assist with the compost breaking down 
    Water it if it does seem dry but don’t overwater or you will create a sludge 

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,872
    Save your sunny site for growing stuff. Compost will make in the dark. The heat comes from the action of the bacteria  breaking down the plant material, not from the sun.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,087
    edited April 2020
    Save your sunny site for growing stuff. Compost will make in the dark. The heat comes from the action of the bacteria  breaking down the plant material, not from the sun.

    You don’t have to put it in a sunny spot but it doing so will speed up the break down of the compost a lot quicker by adding solar heat to the bin 
    A bin in a shady area will slow down that process in my humble opinion 
  • I'll give all of your tips a go, thank you all so much. We've got plans to overhaul the garden and I want to have a veg planter, greenhouse, and more flowerbeds so I'm so happy to learn all of this.

    The bin is already in a sunny spot.

    We don't have a food waste collection where we live so it would be nice to have somewhere to put our veggie peelings etc. to good use!
  • PurpleRosePurpleRose North YorkshirePosts: 538
    edited April 2020
    Good luck with your composting. 

    I started composting with the attitude "see how it goes." The moment I put my bin out, I was hooked. I posted on here recently as I am sure I was missing stuff I could be adding to it. Picked up lots of tips. 

    I have got a friend composting now and we find conversation always turns to composting.

    Here is a link to the post I mentioned



    https://forum.gardenersworld.com/discussion/1035544/composting#latest
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