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Guide to Compost Bins & Composting.

Composting, how do I do it, where do I start?

So you want to make your own compost but do not know where to start, well it’s easy, you just need a few simple things that will get you started, some basic knowledge, make some decisions and you are ready to go.

The first couple of things you need to decide on is:
  • Where you want to site your compost bin?
  • How much space you have?
  • What type of compost bin you would like?

The best position for a compost bin is in light shade or shady area, whether it is in your garden or on your balcony.

Once you have chosen your site, you then need to decide is your area suitable for a compost bin or is a compost tumbler best.

A compost tumbler is enclosed and has its own handle to turn it whereby a normal compost bin doesn’t have a bottom and requires a spade or fork and manual labour to turn it. 

Compost tumblers are a quicker way of composting whereas a normal compost bin with no base can take a lot longer but the end result can be worth waiting on, with a better compost.

Once you have chosen the location and the type of composter you are good to go.  

How do you start composting with a compost bin?

You’ve chosen a compost bin, whether it’s plastic or wooden, it doesn’t have a base, this is a good option as the worms and natural organisms will help create a nutrient rich compost, but you need to put in a first layer that will aid drainage, this can be twigs or straw, these will also help aerate the pile.

How do you start composting with a compost tumbler?

To compost in a tumbler, start by filling your tumbler with small pieces of organic material, such as egg shells, fruit peels, grass clippings, and dried leaves. It’s worth knowing that you cannot add worms to tumblers, as they will not cope with the heat and cannot escape so will surely die.  No need for a pitch fork or sore back, you just need to turn the crank couple of times a week and that’s it done.

So we have the site and the type of compost bin you think is most suitable for your needs, now you need to know.
  • What can I put in my compost bin?
  • What can’t I put in my compost bin? 

Things to put in a compost bin, these should be of equal amounts as the key to good compost lies in getting the mix right. You need to keep your ‘greens’ and ‘browns’ properly balanced. If your compost is too wet, add more ‘browns’. If it’s too dry, add some ‘greens’. Making sure there is enough air in the mixture is also important. Adding scrunched up bits of cardboard is a simple way to create air pockets that will help keep your compost healthy. Air can also be added by mixing the contents.

To view our range of Compost bins click here.

What can I put in my compost bin?

There’s two categories to think about when composting:

GREEN NITROGEN RICH MATERIAL

  • Grass cuttings
  • Soft prunings
  • Annual plant and weed remains before they have set seed
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Old cut flowers

BROWN CARBON- RICH MATERIAL

  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Hedge Cuttings (stems)
  • Cardboard-scrunched up
  • Paper bags and paper (also scrunched up)

What can’t I put in my compost bin?

  • Diseased plants
  • Glossy magazines
  • Meat and fish
  • Cat and dog litter
  • Cooked food
  • Coal ash
  • Disposable nappies

So now we know what we have to put into our compost bins, here's the hard bit, and if you have chosen not to have a compost tumbler, then the back breaking bit and we have to think about:

How often do we turn the compost?

Compost tumblers, well you will be pleased to know you only have to turn the handle every 3 to 4 days and as it matures, even less than that, however with your compost pile in your open based compost bin, you will need to get out the pitch fork and turn it every 3 to 7 days.

It will be worth it when you are planting your tomatoes in you own compost!

Lastly the impatient bit, if your like me:

When will my compost be ready?

Again it depends on the option you chosen, yes I think you will have realised by now, the Tumbler, yes it can be ready depending on how much you are adding to it in as little as 8 weeks unlike the compost bins with no bases, it can take as long as a year, again depending on how often you are adding to the pile and how often you turn it.

In conclusion, if you have little time and not much space, the Compost Tumbler, and if you like a challenge and have the patience and space then a normal Compost Bin is the one for you.

Have Fun!

To view our range of Compost bins click here.

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