Compost system for smallish garden - recommendations please


We have a nice size garden in South East London- but not big enough to have a compost area with large open containers like Monty Don has! 

I'd love to compost our waste as at the moment the council is taking our waste away and I am buying compost!

I don't know anyone with one so I'd be grateful to hear  peoples opinions about which models/ brands of compost bins (that are enclosed) are good?

Ease of use is important - plus for the smell to be contained.


Thanks! image



  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 1,805

    I used to have a small compost bin (the green plastic type with an access door at the bottom) in my small garden but it was such a pain and eyesore really as I could not hide it.It filled up very quickly and then I had nowhere to put other compostable stuff.It was also not a nice job trying to get the stuff out especially as I did not have much space to work in.

    In the end I gave up and scrapped it completely.The compostable waste is taken by the council for recycling and I do buy the stuff back as compost! Sometimes you just have to accept that what you want is not really practical.

    Space is at a premium in a small garden and where the compost bin once stood I now have a nice seating area from which to see my garden.

    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,218

    Good, properly made, compost has no smell other than that of earth and leaves. Some things, such as citrus skins, putrefy and smell awful but most things don't.

    I have never tried a totally enclosed compost system but nothing put into it should come put smelling bad if it works properly.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    Green Johanna.    My council subsidizes it so it was only £25 including delivery and aerator. Check with your council and see if they offer something similar.  It's tough to turn but if you get a winged or corkscrew aerator it works.  It has a lid that turns to stay on completely and it has a base so it's pretty secure against rodents. And yet I've always had mine on paving but it is still filled with worms and woodlice etc.  They find it somehow!  I find I have to dig into the center to find the compost.  If you do that twice a year or so, you can remove the nearly made compost and put it somewhere else to mature. (It won't be recognisable as vegetables etc anymore but may still be a bit squidgy. )  It comes in ringed sections which are screwed together. You can pretty easily unscrew the top half to make it easier to get to if you want.  I love composting.  My husband laughs at me but I find it really cool that our rubbish turns into something good.

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,177

    I bought a council "dalek" years ago from Surrey then topped up with one from Cambridgeshire many years later.  In my last garden, which was small, I had three slots and two compost bins.  

    I'd rotate by taking the dalek off and putting it in the space then moving the contents back into it.  Then I'd do the same with the other one into the space I'd just made.  Any compost that was ready either went on the garden or into bags and stored behind the shed.

    I found that it quite quickly rotted down and made room for more waste, I sited them on soil and they were in a south facing position.

    I have the same system in my bigger garden but I sent off for another 4 daleks so I now have them in two sets of three with two spaces.  I keep bags of "brown" to one side such as pampas grass clippings and stuff that's been through the chopper.  I have a lot of grass clippings so I'm always sure to mix on the way in and I throw in some soil now and again too.

    I'm happy with the system, it works for me.

  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 1,805

    I think it depends on how 'small' you think your garden is!

    If I had 3 dalek bins I would have no room to garden in,my one was too much!

    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,177

    Yes of course you're right Madpenguin, the garden I had when I bought the first dalek was very small but that was where I learned to leave space for two and turn it into the free space.  I have to admit that if you only have room for one (two spaces) you won't get much out of it - you will, but it will take a while and new gets mixed up with old.  However, two, and three spaces was very successful I thought.

    Gardener Eve asked for feedback about different types of composting ... do we have any wormery people listening?  I've never tried those tumble bin things, anyone had success?

  • FirecrackerFirecracker East Lancashire.Posts: 254

    I have 2 plastic freebies from the council, only because other people did'nt want them.I hide them under a nice Acer tree at the top of the garden, they are hidden most of the year by planting.So long as I turn and mix often, the compost turns out good. Must admit they have been on the uggly pills but they look better than my previous attempts at making one.image

  • B3B3 Posts: 11,469

     MP I was wondering about compost that you can  buy back. Is there a danger of spreading pernicious weeds like mare' s tail etc or do they sterilise it and if they do would you trust them to do it properly?

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • I don't buy the council stuff B3 as there's japanese knotweed in this area and I dont trust that people do not put it in - either by accident or knowingly.

Sign In or Register to comment.