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Talkback: Composting in winter

"hurry up spring"? We ain't even in winter yet!


  • Had to give up on the compost bins after massive rat activity. Everything goes off in the Southwark recycling bin now, to feed their rats. We'll start again in spring.
  • Any tips for keeping the lids of the green wheelie bins and compost makers(what I call my green Daleks) from freezing to the body so you cannot put any compost in them, Kate? Every now and again when it is possible to brave this weather I go and gather some dead material like the tops of the crocosmia which is now slimy and unattractive and find I cannot tidy it away in the compost bins.
  • I think a regular supply of pee can help as mentioned above but it doesn't have to be man pee - lady pee is fine too!
  • Compost kid - are you in the southern hemisphere? It's definitely winter here.

    Briony and paulewatts - no men in my household. Not sure how the frogs would get on with all the recycled Christmas sherry so I might leave it for now, but thanks!

    Richard - do you fancy joining the rat debate over on my rat blog? Opinion is divided and Grannyanne was wondering what your opinion was.

    Happymarion - Cover the lids with an old towel or similar material?

  • Thanks, Kate - will do at next mini-thaw. The fieldfares have arrived in Bristol and stripped my pyracantha berries. Waitng for the redwings to arrive now to take the cotoneaster berries. This happened on the 7th of January last year so this winter is two weeks earlier. Looks like we gardeners will have to prepare our compost bins in November now.
  • It helps if there is only kitchen waste going in your bin, which I think may be the case with you?

    Herbaceous material can most usefully be stamped down (when crisped by frost or just when well dried out) and left to rot in situ to benefit the soil.

    If it encroaches on to the paths or lawn then you can rake it on to the bed or shove it on with your foot!
  • Thank you Anne. It's all kitchen waste at the moment but I put cardboard etc in there when there's room. I won't be stamping or raking any herbaceous material until spring. My borders are a no-go area until all the insects have woken up from their slumber, so hopefully they'll be room in the compost bin by then!

  • Hiya, The green wheely bin could be dealt with by a coating of vasaline or grease of some sort around the rim, so no ice could get a grip. Might get dirty, but it's worth a try.
    The woody cuttings are great as kindling on my friend's lounge fireplace, and the kids do like to sit and feed the flames! She kept them in a bag in the garage and let them dry out.
    I have a wormary (in my greenhouse, to help the worms survive) and they are still munching, although slowly, as I have a heater in the greenhouse for the plants.
    Our compost heaps are regularly raided by our neighbours' cats and the local squirrels as there is always a range of food goodies available to eat. I don't know which animal carries the empty egg shells away, but I find them around the garden!!
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  • if there are any men around a pee bucket out would be better,and put on the compostheap, this helps break the compost down, I do not know is frogs will mind.
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