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compost advice

New to gardening. I already have existing shop bought compost. Can I just add my veg peelings etc to it to keep nutrients in it?


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,343

    No. It will become a smelly mess.

    Compost that you buy in the shops is different to what you make in a compost heap. Your potato peelings need to go in a compost heap to rot down before use.

    If you have a plant in a pot of compost , then when the nutrients in the shop bought compost are exhausted, you need to either top dress with a little new compost and add some fertiliser, such as osmocote pellets or blood fish and bone.

    Or you can add a soluble fertiliser such as phostrogen or miracle grow to the watering can when you water.


    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    joberg, helloimage.

    These are my 3 compost bins


     I put garden waste and raw veg and fruit waste, also newspaper scrunched up and cardboard roughly torn into them.


     This is what I have put in recently


     This compost needs another 3 months to mature


     I finished filling this bin in April and the compost is ready to be used, sieved for sowing seeds or un-sieved to mulch around plants or spread on the veg bed for worms to take down over the winter (much less work for meimage) If you have use of a shredder you can obtain much finer compost, but it is not that important.

    Any queries, just askimage

  • I put potatoes peel in my compost bin and they started to sprout shoots is this normal thanks


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 72,139

    Yes, but if you stir up the compost regularly they should stop growing, especially when the decomposition really gets going.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Thanks dove

  • First time for me to be successful making compost this year. I added wood chips, I heard it heats up the process, seems to work. I also got this fushia bush that the wife hates, cannot get to the roots as it growing between the path and the house. I cut it down every year and this year it went in the shredder then the compost heap.

    I had compost bin as above, but now gone in a home made one made from pallets. I was told, the bigger the heap, the hotter it gets, breaking it down quicker. Is this true?

    Its a pain to turn it over tho, so all fresh waste goes in the plastic compost bin first.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    I don't stir the compost as if I'm making Christmas Pud image I just dig in with the compost stirrer tool and lift everything a bit and let it drop back, just to get air in there. I can be a bit more vigorous with the smaller 2 bins, but if I'm not careful I could vanish head first into the larger oneimage

    I quite like those ghostly potatoes growing in the compost, Dove is right; a bit of movement with stirrer or fork and they soon stop growing.

    As to the bigger/the hotter, it would depend on what is in the heap, but it is certainly true that those very tiny bins can't hold the heat well. The relatively new Hot Bin (£150) is about the size of a wheely bin, has walls about 30mm thick, uses some kind of wood pellets in small quantities to help the process and reaches astonishing temperatures in 24 hours. You have to fill it all at once to get that going.

    As to wood chips, use caution, not too much at once. Perhaps a little sprinkle now and then.image

  • Compost bins/ heaps also rely on worm activity to aid the decomposition of the waste and if you have the 'dalek' style plastic compost bins the compost can get too hot. If you take the lid off and see the worms on the sides of the bin above the compost it could mean they are getting too hot so I guess you need to leave the lid of for a while. 

    Compost accelerators help also, many on the market but if you have rabbits or chickens then the straw and waste is great 

  • BoaterBoater Posts: 241

    joberg - compost your veg peelings separately and then when it is ready mix it with the shop bought stuff. No point adding new green stuff to compost that is already ready!

    The advice about bigger compost heaps work better maybe needs clarifying. Maximising volume to surface area will make it generate more heat, but try to avoid a low heap with a big surface area which will lose it's heat too quickly. The most efficient shape for a heap would be a sphere but that's not very practical - cylindrical or hexagonal bins are next best, followed by cubical. Most heat loss is from the top, if heat radiated equally in all directions you would want the fill height the same as the width for maximum efficiency but since it doesn't the deeper the better!

    Where am I going with this?

    Setting up your first heap with not many scraps can take a bit of time. The more green waste you have to compost the quicker it will be. 

    Some people advise to store compostable material loosely and intact until you have enough to chop up and start a heap, I just chop it up right away and throw it on, stirring it up from time to time with a fork - but I'll use what I add this year, next year so I'm not too concerned about how long it takes (2 heaps), there are more efficient ways of doing it as described....

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