Sorry if this is in the wrong section Hello I have just been given an allotment and am wondering can I make my own compost wiv a compost bin or should I just make a little box and use that? Any ideas will be great


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,113

    Compost bins are fine. If you have a lot of stuff to compost, you can use the 1 tonne size builders bags with a piece of cardboard or carpet on top.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • Awesome thanks for the quick response my other option was to just build one out of pallets but got a bin already
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    medavid, remember; no perrenial weeds unless they are seed and root free, also a mix of greens and browns (nitrogen and carbon) and turn it from time to time to get air into the mix. Good luck with making your compostimage

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,909

    You might need more than one bin for an allotment, you can never have enough compost, it keeps the plants and soil happy. Why not build a pallet one as well, you can then use your bin for muck.  

  • yeh zoomed know what you mean, going to see how the one goes first and can always make one.


    can anyone tell me what these plants are and if they can be composted. Inside the red marks.




  • Should I have 2 compost bins one of compost and other for manure?

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,110

    I have 2 one metre cubed sized wooden bins, they are used for a start, then its gets transferred into 3 of those big blue farm containers, then when its completely ready its transferred into compost bags.

    I have a very quick turnover of compost, there will be enough by the end of the year to cover all my beds and borders.

    the picture you show there just looks like a load of mixed weed and uncut grasses, can you be more specific?


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Impossible to say; you may have some real nasties thereimage, like Dock and Dandelion.

  • davids10davids10 Posts: 895

    if you make a hot heap-higher than 150F-.  you can compost anything. the heap will be self sterilizing. in a cool heap be careful of seeds, perennial weeds and almost anything that spreads by runners-goldenrod is the worst. i think making a fast hot heap is a fun thing to do-but only if you are a composthead.

  • Forgive my ignorance David but how do you make a hot-heap as opposed to a 'normal' one?

  • davids10davids10 Posts: 895

    a hot heap should heat up to between 150 and 172F within 3 days of putting it together. for me the important thing seems to be a very fine grind-i use an electric rotary lawnmower. the proportion of green and brown doesnt seem to matter-my fall heap is from garden cleanup so lots of green. spring heap is final garden cleanup and lots of leaves, so mostly brown. if you turn the heap every 2 days to maintain heat the compost can be finished in eleven days. despite what you might read, after the initial assembly it doesnt take much time or effort to run a hot heap and if you have space constraints its great- mine goes where the veg garden is in the summer.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    That hot-heap compost may still need to 'cure' for a month or 2. I have seen very high tech snazzy versions of this at the Sandringham cafe/restaurant. I think the compost was made in about 18 days, but the professional gardeners on the estate, combined with the instructions that went with the machine did not apply the compost for some time after; it was left in an open compost bay I believe.image

  • davids10davids10 Posts: 895

    if a heap in the middle of the garden is high tech. . . .i use the compost at all stages even when it is still warm-as for curing i didnt know it was sick.

  • This is what you will all call a slow heap!  Compost beautiful and finished in the bin but colonised by ants, a hive I think would be a good word.  I have a look at them whenever on the allotment, and marvel at the industry and the countless tiny grains of soil each processed and individually placed, the eggs and air vents.  I see some out on the plot but I don't think they do any harm.  I can't bear to destroy them and have plenty of compost nearby.  Don't think there will be many to agree with me!

  • Lily PillyLily Pilly Posts: 3,008

    Interesting bit  on G QT last week in which it was said that it wasn't necessary to turn compost in most gardens.  It's just the huge piles that need the heat moved. I of course had just turned mine!

    Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
    A A Milne
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 3,498

    I have never been able to get a 'hot' compost bin. When I have time I shred (or mow over) woody material and add it with grass cuttings & that makes a nearly hot (steam rising) bin but it soon seems to cool down. I operate a 3 bin system.

    Bin 1 is fresh material & the one I add to.

    Bin 2 is 'cooking'

    Bin 3 is usable compost

    When Bin 3  is empty I turn Bin 1 into it & leave that to cook and start a new bin again in bin 1.

    If my back was a bit stronger I would turn Bin 2 into bin 3 and bin 1 into bin 2 but I've only done that once & it cost me a fortune in osteopath bills!!

    I think it is more important to get the right 'mix' of brown and green & to try to build up layers with coarser stuff mixed in with the shreddings. I also water mine (with both recycled tea and water) if it seems dry and I stir the top layers each time I add stuff.

    Seems to work but stuff composted this season will not be usable till next year. I have always had a problem with seedy compost so this year I've been more circumspect about composting seed heads - I only do those which are still very green and I do shred them.

    I have ants in mine too Hester - even though I try not to let it dry out too much.

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    The Charity 'Garden Organic' who taught us Compost Masters about making and using compost have recently advised, re turning compost; 

    Two particular areas of concern are

    1. Inhalation of bioaerosols (microorganisms and/or other small biological particles suspended in air)

    2. Contact with human pathogens (through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact)

    The good news is that 'analysis of the available world-wide literature by Garden Organic found only two reported cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis resulting from the domestic situation.'

    'Little is known about pathogens in a domestic composting situation. Research ...the risk of exposure is low...'

    I do not so much turn the entire compost bin as loosen it up to make sure that air gets in to avoid the process becoming anaerobic.image

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 3,498

    Thanks Artjak - 'loosening' sounds much better than 'turning'! image

    I know that you love composting (as do I - had a lovely day at the Henry Doubleday Research place a few years back - absolutely fascinating) so I am interested to know what type of compost bins you have.

    I have some large plastic ones (nearly 2 cubic metres each). They open right out to allow me easy access to the compost & seem to compost faster than the traditional wooden ones I had before. They are also rot and mouse proof. They were also available at a 90% (!) discount through a council run recycling scheme image

    I have been thinking about getting a tumbler - have you got one? What do they think of them on your compost master courses?

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Lily PillyLily Pilly Posts: 3,008

    Hi topbird,

    1. I have a tumbler, just been out to see if it has a name in it bit it's too old now!  Mine is like the old fashioned tombola boxes ( if you are as old as me you will know what I meanimage)   it has two sections once opened, both thickly lined, looks like polystyrene   I use mine fir kitchen waste and add cardboard for packaging text. Once you fill one side you start the other then when it is full you can use the first side and the cycle is stared.  I have cured many plants and even a beautiful Acer with this home made kitchen compost. Can't recommend enough. 
    Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
    A A Milne
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 3,498

    HI Lily Pilly

    I DO know what a tombola box looks like - guess that makes me 27 too... image

    How long do you think it takes to get the compost mature enough to use in the summer? I was wondering if they are quicker than my compost bins which take several months. Is yours large enough to accomodate much garden waste?

    Love, love, love your garden by the way - you have done a really great job there

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
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