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personal experience on composting

I have been looking at composting loads in the past week or so. I know what goes in it now and what does not. However, I have read some articles which say have the bin raised so air can go through, some that say it should be on the ground and others that say it should be on slabs. Whats your personal experience and opinions please???


  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Sam, my two compost bins are on the ground and did have wire mesh across the bottom that was over twenty years ago, when I bottom out it has gone so I start with twiggy stuff that gives air space.
    The boxes are square made of wooden slats on a frame with very slight gaps between the slats to let air in at all levels although the best way is to turn the compost mixing it well as you go. The boxes have lids.
    People say leaving air gaps lets rats in, my answer to that is in all my years I have never once seen a rat, that could be because I always had terriers who had the run of the garden.
    To sum up, on the ground or on slabs does not matter. If you have some small gap in the sides, drilled holes, a cut hole with fine wire over it or leave air gaps in the slats air will be drawn in by the heat of the compost and as I keep saying on here AIR HEAT MOISTURE, that is the secret of good compost, the hotter it is the sooner you can use it.


  • That's great Frank. Thank you. I keep hearing about these rats and it did put me off but I have now gone and made on which sits on an old pallet with small gaps underneath. There seems to be so many ways of doing it and I don't want to waste my time doing something and finding its wrong. I really appreciate all your help  and advice on composting. I feel happier now image

    Thank you again.

  • Hi Sam, There's a bit of a myth that composting is difficult, but it really isn't.  The simple trick is to turn it often, so it gets regularly mixed.  Doing that will ensure it breaks-down evenly and quickly.  It is hard work, but skimp doing it and it will take two or three times longer and will still have some uncomposted material in it.  It needs to be damp but not wet, so cover it to prevent rainfall making it all into a soggy mess.

    In scientific terms, if it gets too wet and isn't turned, the 'good' air-loving (aerobic) bacteria which do the composting will die-off and be replaced with anaerobic (air-hating) types which operate much more slowly and are what make some compost heaps smell nasty. 

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Ahhh right. Thanks Bob, Well I have thinned out my brown stuff as there was too much in it and am now keeping a separate bin for kitchen peelings and a separate one for my garden green leaf and weed (Not perennial as I'm guessing they don't go in?) ready to mix when they are a little fuller. It costs me a fortune for my compost so decided that this year I am having a go at making my own image I don't mean to pester folks, its just I have no idea about this side of things.

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Sam, it is not pestering it is a search for knowledge, we all do it one way or another, sharing experience is what it is about.
    I will answer the same question on the board time and again because the people asking either do not know or do not know how to find the answer. I have a well used stock of books ancient and modern plus having learnt gardening at my Fathers side many moons ago now.
    Always happy to share that knowledge Sam and as to compost it is not quantum physics it is common sense and the three golden rules, air heat and moisture and as Bob says a good hefty turning now and again, better than a weekend at the Gym.


  • This seems to be the case Frank image Thank you. I am very grateful for the advice. I worked for my dad as a landscaper for many years but composting is something we never had to do as the clients would sort that. I'm looking forward to being able to use my own this year. Its already becoming a bit of an obsession lol.

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  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Hollie everything given time will eventually rot down, the large industrial heaps will rot down in six weeks, they have lots of heat and turned on a regular basis with a JCB.
    I would expect good compost in three months Spring and Summer, six months Autumn Winter.
    Well done on getting compost although had you turned the bin out onto a plastic sheet shaken it up and put it back you could possibly have had compost in six months.
    Not everything will rot quickly so I shovel my compost through a sieve throwing the lumps back into the bin, it will make compost in time.


  •  I also have a darlex type large compost bin, which tomorrow i will follow Frank advice and empty it out, give it a good stir and then replace it, hopefully there will be something i can use as i havent emptied it since July.

    thanks all

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    If it looks like compost, smells like compost, feels like compost, then Hurrah! it is compost. I think with time; a couple of years perhaps, one does get a good feel for what goes in the bin. It is like learning how to make, for example, a cake or bread. The first few times you need to follow a recipe. Then you start to feel a bit confident; you start to understand the principles behind the recipe; and then you can start branching out on your own - inventing your own recipes.

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