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Author Topic: Composting  (Read 2030 times)


  • Joined Sep 2013
  • Nr Sleaford, Lincolnshire
« on: September 23, 2015, 01:16:46 pm »
I've been reading and thinking about trying no-dig methods in the vegetable garden and - related to this - thinking about how to make more compost for mulching. We have normally made our own compost - at our old allotment and just getting going in new garden - using standard compost heaps/bins which we turn out every so often. We put some weeds, vegetable waste, uncooked kitchen waste, chicken house waste.

I'd like to try something else to use cooked kitchen waste and perhaps speed up the composting process. Does anyone use a hot composter or one of those compost tumblers? Any feedback or ideas?

Is newspaper alright to put on the compost. Currently we only put on the newspaper that I have used in the hen house, but we get a paper every day and so could put on more.


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Composting
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2015, 10:32:35 pm »
You can hot compost in a simple heap covering it with a tarp to keep the moisture & heat in .
But those plastic Daleks are the bees knees for hot composting in 21 days if you are fit and can follow the 18 day Berkley hot composting method .  I have seven of these bins and before my spinal disabilities really hammered me all seven were  in an 18 day hot composting cycle system.

 We put every single compostable  material there is  in the bins including   small amounts of cooked food , all bones and other kitchen waste . Even fat isciiked or un cooked is used .

When we do the fat thing , before hand we add several hands full of clean damped straw across the bin to give it somewhere to seep into .

Our bins stand on an inclined  6 inch thick floated smooth concrete slab to keep things clean and rodent resistant . it's inclined at 1 in 90 %  to let any juices run off the slab into the garden .
I also use 12  big headed aluminium pop rivets per bin  to rivet the small access doors to the bin body to keep out rats, cats, foxes ,mice & the dog etc. 
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting


  • Joined Sep 2013
  • Nr Sleaford, Lincolnshire
Re: Composting
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2015, 10:45:37 pm »
Just had a quick read of the Berkeley method using a pile or 'compost cake'.When you used the Daleks - of which we have a few, currently with leaves in - does that mean that you turned contents from one bin to another?

Sounds interesting - if also hard work!


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Composting
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2015, 08:46:33 pm »
Whatever you do once you start the hot composting  don't add any fresh un composted matter to the bins you're working with .

Once the bin has hot composted for a couple of days the level of the contents reduce by about 1/5 th .

If you run two in use bins at the same time it's easy to slip the Dalek off , set it to the side of one of the others and gently fork the outer parts in to the middle of the empty Dalek .  Use a spray hose to keep it damp , wetting every three or four inches of thickness  as this is what helps build the heat ..a dry heap does not rot as quick .

Then once the outer parts are put in the middle where the greater heat build up will occur do the same to the other bin , till the new made bin is full to the top . 
By the time you have turned the compost three times you'll be surprised how much it has shrunk /dried out .

 Re hard work ..
I'm 65 in a few months time .  I have a bust left shoulder joint ( 35 years ) , osteoarthritis in both shoulder joints for over 20 years  , a damaged  left knee joint 40 years ( due a plastic knee any day now ) and  I've had a spinal injury for the last 20 years at L4/5 . Having had a second urgent operation at L2/3 to stop it paralyzing me in April this year . I was turning my bins till mid March  and have restarted the turning again last week . 

 I also have a child's sand castle making type spade 5 inches long by 4 inches wide  set with araldite on an old carbon fibre sea fishing rod butt ( four foot plus shaft )   I can & often do use this spade/shovel one handed , along side me using the fork .

It's not that hard , so long as you don't try and take big forks of it , having the long lever of the pitch fork shaft means .... I don't need to bend my back , legs or strain my arms & shoulders .

 I can turn a bin out into another one in about 25 to 30  min as well as sweeping  the crumbs up and hosing the pad off .

If the gods smile on me I can do a bin every other day without wrecking myself . It usually takes me a lot longer to get organised as I'm still having to use crutches to get mobilized , to sweep up & tidy away than the actual turning exercise.

My fork is a modified hay pitch fork heated and re-shaped so the tines form a standard fork shape ( e.g.  flat across where the foot tread is with the two almost straightened  tines vertical ) . It has had two more inner tines made in the same open oblong manner welded in on the inside of the outer tines , to give me a fork with tines about 9 inches long and about 7.5 inches across.

 Browning  or brown leaves are best run over with a rotary mower to bust them up . I have a Dalek full of such hard oak leaves that I did last year .. just bust up with the mower and watered in layers as the bin got filled ,then left alone of a year to start breaking down . The bin is now about 3/5 full .
 This next month or so they will be used as browns   by the bucket full as I turn two un composted bins over ,  I'll then be leaving these alone to rot down aerobically till spring , as there is not enough ambient temperatures for me to get the really high sterilizing temperatures within the bins .

 Whatever method you choose for composting in the bins  i.e layer cake style or the 18 day way , just remember no matter what happens compost will also  occur eventually all of it's own accord.
It just takes longer when it does it anaerobically & it won't be quite as high a quality , it will also have weed seeds in it because it won't have  heated up sufficiently to kill them .. 
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 09:05:46 pm by cloddopper »
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting


  • Joined Sep 2013
  • Nr Sleaford, Lincolnshire
Re: Composting
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2015, 08:10:35 pm »
Thank you so much for this detailed answer. Very helpful and interesting.


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