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Help with compost making

I've been reading this compost discussions with great interest and seeing as I have never made compost before there are a few questions that I hope you knowledgeable people could answer.
I have 5 darlek type plastic bins that I could fill very easily as I have access to scores of huge comfrey plants and mounds of fallen brown leaves. The comfrey has gone over now and are not green and succulent any more, is this still classed as "green"?
Also is it best to layer green and brown or mix them up before I put it in the bins or layer them in the bins.
I don't have a lawn mower and I don't think I'm strong enough to cut them up with shears, could I just put them in whole?
Many thanks


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,766
    the first thing to remember is that everything WILL rot down in time. We , as gardeners just want it rot down in a way that helps us. 
    Mix or layer, it'll rot down in time. 
    Don't over think it
  • DevonianDevonian Posts: 176
    Exactly as Hostafan says! As you have so many bins, you might want to use each one slightly differently for example:

    Bin 1 - leaves only for leaf litter (ideal for mulching shrubs such as camellia etc)
    Bins 2 & 3 - mix of leaves and comfrey leaves
    Bins 4 & 5 - larger stalks/twigs etc (these will take longer to break down due to their size)

    This way you get a good blend of short-term and longer-term compost success!
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,766
    edited July 2020
    you'll soon see what works well and what isn't so good. You can then modify your approach. 
    It's addictive , lol but once you produce your first batch of lovely dark brown crumbly loveliness , the joy !!!!!
  • micmargmicmarg Posts: 38
    Thank you very much Hostafan and Devonian. I'll try not to over think it but when I'm inspired I just want to do a good job and I totally understand how joyous it will be when I have something similar to Monty Don's compost.
    Just so that I've got it - are plants like my comfrey, when they have gone over and no longer lush and green, are they still classed as green or are they brown. I can understand brown as being old fallen leaves, paper etc but not sure about old plants.
    Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question.
    Kind regards
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,766
    green is high in nitrogen, so leafy stuff, ( green or otherwise ) 
    Brown is high in carbon, so twiggy stuff, cardboard etc. 
  • micmargmicmarg Posts: 38
    Thank you. One more question then I won't bother you again.
    As I can't mow the comfrey or cut it with shears once I've pulled it up, could I use a shredder or are they just for twigs etc. There seems to be some reasonably priced ones on Ebay.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,538
    A shredder will be a boon in making compost. Smaller particles will always rot  down quicker.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    micmarg said:
     could I use a shredder or are they just for twigs etc.

    It's a good question.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,766
    if you add too much leafy material to some shredders, they can clog. Try doing some leafy stuff and then some twiggy stuff to scour any leafy remnants. 
  • WilderbeastWilderbeast Posts: 1,412
    @micmarg welcome to the forum and to the joys of composting 🤣🤣 I'd say that you should just stick it all in and in the end it will breakdown in a useable compost. Personally I mow absolutely everything that goes into the bins but a shredder will do the same and will definitely speed things up,I  also turn it weekly at least, take the temperature, talk to it and sometimes I'm even tempted to give the heap a cuddle. All of which is clearly bonkers 🤣🤣 and confirms that composting can lead to delerium (that's definitely spelt wrong), however it's 2 years since anything from a chicken carcass or weeds have gone into my brown bin.
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