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I'd like to get composting asap in my new garden. What do you all think about homemade vs shop-bought composters?

I know very little about either, but am I right to think that all of them are bottomless so that worms and other creatures can get in there and work their magic?

I've also read that you need to turn them, so grateful for any tips on the practicalities of that.

Is it better to have more than one compost pile: one for leaves and garden clippings, and one for food waste?

Can you put weeds in a composter?



  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,995

    How large is your garden (how much garden waste will you put in there?)?  

    Most of my garden waste goes directly onto my garden, or around my berries and rhubar.  Grass clippings are used direct as mulch.  Fall leaves are mowed up and used to cover the veg garden as most things are finished by then.  Same with the windfall apples, etc.  Sticks and tree trimming are in a pile for bugs and small animals.  The only thing in my compost container is kitchen stuff.  I tend to try to cut out the middle man (me) by letting nature do the work where I most want it to be.  

    Utah, USA.
  • i have a couple of bought Dalek type composters as well as subsequently built pallet composter covered with old carpet.

    I'm always delighted when i take the lid off the dalek to add more... it's swimming with worms and warm enough to be breaking down well. The self built with pallets etc has more capacity, is easier to empty, but not so easy to  build up layers of warmed up content.

    Garden size does dictate though, use the wooden pallet bins for grass clippings mixed with paper, daleks for cuttings and kitchen waste.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Blue onion is right really depends on how big your garden is. I have a medium to large garden and get plenty of stuff from greens to browns to put in them, plus i compost the neighbours grass clippings so I have 2 1mx1m wooden bins made from pallets. If you only have a small garden go with a dalek type bin they're light and when you do need to turn then they're easily refilled and emptied. You can compost kitchen waste (uncooked veg or fruit, peelings etc, no citrus though) grass clippings and woody stems from perennials, old newspaper, cardboard, anything natural really and it soon breaks down.

    Yes you can put annual weeds in a composter leaves as well, but it depends how many you have, scale is everything when composting, you need to accommodate what create. You can build  a seperate bin for leaves, and that's a different process and style of bin, but again it takes space.

    There is a compost thread on here somewhere, hopefully someone will find it for you and put in a link.

  • i add citrus to my kitchen waste compost- so long as there's not too much it's not a problem. Citrus waste is only really an issue with wormeries, any average garden composter the worms can escape if they don't like what you add.

    any compost should aim to be roughly (very roughly!) half and half brown- paper/ card/ twiggy waste and and green- grass/ leafy/ kitchen waste. i'm not too fussy, don't turn it and do OK. perhaps if I did turn it, it would rot quicker, but, to spread in autumn I'm happy to keep adding to it all year. when i use t there are usually a few bits that haven't rotted- pineapple heads in particular, so i just add them to the bottom of the new heap and chop them a bit with a spade. 

    Thirtybyseven- my best advice is just to start composting- you will find in item which best suits you, your garden size and whatever waste/ garden material you have to add t it.

    Good luck


  • I have three composters standing and turn them every month. Bin 1 has the fresh stuff in it, bin 2 the stuff from bin 1 from the month before and bin 3 the compost from bin 2 from the month before. Once a month I take out of composter 3 what is already usable as compost. Then I turn composter 2 in number 3 and composter 1 in composter 2. What has come out of 3 and has not been composted yet, goes back in 1. This rotation makes sure that I have plenty of compost at any time. Every two months I add some straw (I buy bunny straw) and I always make sure that not-seeding-weeds are added at any time. They are good for all the nitty gritty nutrients your soil needs. No meat or bones and plenty of garden and kitchen waste secures a top compost quality. Oh... and water them regularly when it is dry!

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  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452

    I have one of these hanging beside my dalek bin. It is brilliant. Twist it in and pull it out a couple of times whenever I'm putting stuff in the bin. Works a treat by mixing and aerating with very little effort.

  • Thanks, Daryl2, I might get one of those. I've now got my new composter, but need to decide where to put it. I haven't decided where to put the beds yet, so it'll have to wait a bit longer! 

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