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Turning a compost heap without hurting the wildlife

My compost heap is home to many slow worms and toads. How do I turn it over without hurting them? In the past, some of the slow worms have sadly suffered from the fork going in .


  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,620

    If your heap is easily accessible you could try gently raking off a layer at a time which should give your guests time to flee. If possible waiting for a warm day when that they are more alert might help too.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,286

    You could use a 'Beet Fork' which has balls on the end of the prongs image

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

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    I don't turn much at all because we have slow worms and grass snakes lay their eggs in there too. I just harvest the compost and turn once a year, usually in March. Then the slow worms are at least active, and it is before the grass snakes eggs are laid. 

    Along with Edd's ideas, you don't need to turn so much if you put in thin layers of greens and browns to begin with, so it starts off well mixed up.

    Dove's idea of using that beat fork is brilliant, must get myself one and will recommend to others who have this problem to solve. image

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