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Composting success

So it's nearly up to my annual emptying of my compost bins just in time for the autumn leaves. It's been a good year for me with loads of good material to fill the bins.

I altered the construction this year using steel roofing sheets from a neighbour to line the bins, they are now 1mtx1mtx 1.5mt high and still insulated with Kingspan. Also added lids to control how much rain got in in the winter.

I have added everything that my own garden produces, leaves from the road front and everything that several other gardens have produced (I have trained neighbours to leave their green waste bins at the end of my drive😀) I then get loads of tree surgeons waste and bags of fresh horse manure.

Turning very frequently means I can keep high temperatures and very fast production, normally I have 2/3 bins  active at a time with 5 bins in total. Once a bin is filled and only sinks down about 6 inch I stop adding and mixing new material and let them work down.

After 1 year the compost is  bursting with worms and goes out onto my beds as a top mulch, into veg beds for no dig, large bins for growing courgettes and as part of my potting mix 


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  • FireFire Posts: 18,993
    It sounds like a wonderful system and very productive. Your veg production is great. I hope the final product in your bins is all you wish for. I imagine the Kingspan has helped a lot with high temps, as well as all the turning. It must be satisfying to have designed a system that works so well for you.

    My systems (on a tiny scale) are working well. Pretty much all household paper and cardboard goes in. There is pretty much zero food waste in the house. I get free wood chip from a local furniture maker, which has helped the garden systems a lot. My four small compost bins seem to be a good use of space. It's certainly one of the more successful aspects of the garden (among the lots of things that haven't worked). I still wish not to buy in compost, but if I'm really attending to soil health in raised beds and pots, that can't work currently.

    Thanks for the inspiration.
  • @fire forgot to reply sooner kids moving up schools has caused quite stress. 

    Been out turning a couple of bins this morning and added more grass so thought pictures would be good.
    As you can see it's a substantial set up (big is beautiful 😜) and there is quite a fig rising from the heap. The covered heaps are currently maturing ready to go out shortly. 

    I have mellowed some what this year and am quite happy to say whatever little people can compost is all good. 

    I have bigger plans for the future once the kids play area is gone similar to the guy you have posted about in the states (I have viewed lots of his YouTube videos). The intention is to have 2 rows of bins side by side just fill it from 1 end and not turn the heap until 1 side is completely full then only turn the compost once into the 2nd bin.

    Keep calm and carry on composting 
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    Glad you’ve got the system going now,  looks like ours, except we have a selection of horrible bright blue farm containers to keep it in for storage once it’s cooked. 
    Fortunately the blue and white builders bags are starting to disintegrate after 12 years. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • FireFire Posts: 18,993
    It all looks great.

    (Bruce is in Ireland).
  • @fire I just thought Bruce sounded like a Yank so presumed he was across the pond.

    @Lyn it's certainly works well loads of compost for the beds
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    I suppose it’s all relative,  we make tons of it, we’ve got a big garden to spread and lots of waste,  a smaller garden will make less but it will still be enough to cover the garden in the autumn. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • gondorgondor Posts: 135
    edited September 2021
    @Wilderbeast I see that you also add fallen leaves to your compost heaps? As you said, it's that time of year again and Monty always bangs on about making leaf mould but I don't know why someone would specifically want to make leaf mould instead of just chucking the leaves in the compost.
    I managed to get a bucket of useable compost by sieving with a riddle from the most decomposed part of the heap. There are still some partially decomposed wood chippings in it from shredded tree branches, probably from parts of the heap being too dry. It's been used to pot up some salvia cuttings and they are thriving.

    The best of the rest was put into a smaller bin with a lid and mixed up with grass clippings. I'm turning that once a week and adding water if necessary so I hope I'll have something usable within a month to mulch a part of the borders.

    I will take a lawnmower to my fallen leaves this year and put them in the compost.
    My heaps aren't as awesome as yours Wilderbeast, so I wouldn't dare put conifer trimmings anywhere near them! I mostly avoid adding grass trimmings because there is a lot of moss in my front lawn - how do your heaps cope with moss?
  • FireFire Posts: 18,993
    Monty makes up specific mixes for his pots and includes leaf mould in the recipe, so I guess he likes to have it to hand. Leaf mould has useful properties of its own (though v low nutrition). I tried for a while to gather leaves but most of mine to hand are quite big plane leaves and need chopping up, really. They take a long time to break down and I don't have much space. I do collect little elder leave etc, and use that straight in the compost.
  • Serious compost envy! What a brilliant set up- it must be a lot of work to keep them that hot? We have 3 bins but are very lazy and don't turn them much. I'd love to be more on top of it.
  • @gondor the joy of my compost bins being hot nearly all the time (warm not hot form mid November to mid February) they consume whatever I put in them. I've added plenty of moss that came off the neighbours roof and it disappeared in the mix.

    @CharlotteF I do put a lot of work in (Mrs wilderbeast says "no rest for the wicked") turning the heaps very regularly, the main thing is I add loads of material all the time which means that it's always generating heat. 

    I do only empty out the bins once a year piling the finished material high to mature over the following months 
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