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Talkback: Compost

My husband insists in digging in teabags/old tomatoes/old cucumber into the soil. Is this doing any good to the soil?


  • I have a laurel hedge which generates a lot of leaf trimmings which I have shredded. Can I compost these or are they poisonous. I want to use the compost as a mulch for the rest of the garden. I have an acid soil. Can anyone help please?
  • Joy and Morning Glory: Any organic matter, that does not attract pests and make them dig it up, can be added. Harder pieces (prunings) take longer (years if the wood is over a centimetre thick). The rotting process depletes available Nitrogen until rotting is complete when the bacteria and fungi (the rotters) die and yield the Nitrogen back to the soil. Laurel is only temporarily poisonous. Dry, it is great for starting a bonfire due to the waxy leaves I think.
  • Thanks to Chris, carshalton for your tips on composting the laurel trimmings. I will compost it first before putting it on the flower beds. Mixing in grass cuttings etc should minimise any poisonous concentration with any luck.
  • I've bought one of these small plastic compost bins. I have a very small garden - new to us - and just want to have some compost on hand to help lighten the soil. I've placed it in the corner of the garden and want to get started so that with luck by this time next year I should have some compost going! I'm saving kitchen waste - uncooked - in a plastic bag in the kitchen with a view to starting - help!!!
  • Hi David, Drop your kitchen waste into the bin along with any garden waste like grass cuttings. Throw in some ripped up cardboard and (non-glossy) paper to add carbon and let nature take its course. I throw coffee grounds into mine, which help heat up the waste and compost it down quicker.
  • We add the straw/sawdust from our rabbit and hamster cages in our composter and it makes for lovely compost!
  • can i use my home made compost for seedlings, it is not very fine?
  • I tear open my used tea bags pour out the leaves and throw away the paper bag as I find it doesn't rot down very well in my heap. I also use the cardboard from loo/kitchen towel rolls as this breaks down lovely but I do wet them first before putting them into the heap.
  • What is the best way to stop flies becoming a problem in compost heaps.
  • I got a greenhouse for my birthday in April, and have been buzzing since. I've planted sweetpeas in cardboard egg boxes which have flourished but the seeds I put into toilet rolls have been very disappointing. I thought I was doing my bit for recycling. Where have I gone wrong with the toilet rolls? Any ideas or should I just forget them and stick to egg boxes?
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