Our volunteers share their composting stories...

If you’re not already composting at home, why not give it a go?  Compost bins such as the “dalek” promoted by WSCC are a cheap and convenient way to get started but, actually, any container will do, even just a length of chicken wire wrapped around 4 sturdy posts; aim for a one metre cube but the larger the better!  We have four very different containers  and the largest is an old plastic coal bunker!  On a more practical level, many folk are now using their old brown wheelie bins as composters by drilling a few holes in the base.  This has the advantage that you can move it to where you need it!

Your first bin needn’t take up much space and can even be placed on a hard surface if that’s the only space you have available in your garden.  If you are concerned about rodents getting in underneath then a piece of chicken wire wrapped around the base should provide reasonable protection.  We occasionally find field mice in our hexagonal bin and we reckon that they help to aerate the compost and are quite friendly too!

However, a word of warning.  If you just top up your bin periodically and expect to get lots of compost for no more work, you’ll be sadly disappointed.  Yes, if you leave it long enough – a year or more then the very bottom layer may be useful but, ideally, you need to turn the whole batch at least once – especially if you routinely add grass clippings.  You can either simply tip it out, mix it up and put it back or, far better, get a second or third bin and transfer the contents from one into another.  That way you’ll have an empty bin to start all over again!

Two final tips.  Don’t try and compost perennial weeds or anything containing lots of seeds.  Home composters simply do not get hot enough to kill these off. But do mix up all your shredded paper with whatever you’re composting – especially when it's green material like grass and annual weeds.  The paper adds carbon, oh and it gives the mice something to read while you’re waiting …

Big thanks to David for sharing his wisdom and I for one will be making sure I have enough compost bins.  A bit like jewellery - a girl can never have too much! - Annie


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Hi Jacqui, yes you can add paper to your new heap and all sorts can go in. Kitchen paper (as long as there is no food on it) and newspaper and brown paper (best torn into smaller pieces) will all disappear is if by magic over a few weeks. Layer the paper with your green garden waste and organic kitchen waste for a great result. Happy composting. Annie
03 June 2015 14:38 by Anonymous U
I have started today!

Please can you tell me what type of kitchen paper I may add - does kitchen roll biodegrade?

Thank you Jacqui
26 May 2015 09:21 by Anonymous U

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