To turn or not to turn?
Your compost bin needs air to work well. Your bin will work faster
and hotter when the heap is turned. Thatís the theory, but itís not
quite as simple as that. Read onÖ
Traditional bins like New Zealand
boxes need regular turning.
bins work on a 2 year cycle with one bay for each yearís rubbish.
Kitchen and garden waste is added to one of the bays throughout the
year and this material can be turned as often as you can face doing
it. A fresh supply of air is injected at every turning, and this
leads to a higher temperature and better compost more quickly.
Remember air is needed throughout the heap, not at the outside, so a
slatted bin or one with Ďair ventsí on the side merely makes the
material at the edges dry out and encourages weeds to grow. Boxes
with solid sides keep the moisture in and prevent any essential
warmth from escaping.
At the end of the year, a well turned compost heap can be covered
over with old carpet or bubble film or lots of cardboard, and
ideally topped with a solid lid to keep rain out. After another
year, while you are using the second bay for fresh material, youíll
have perfect, crumbly compost in the first bay.
Donít turn materials in a plastic bin.
Plastic bins supplied by your Council should be used all the time,
so keep adding material every time you garden or peel your tatties.
When you lift your bin off the compost heap, youíll find recently
added material at the top, well rotted at the bottom and everything
at different stages in between. By turning this kind of heap, youíll
jumble everything up so you will never get at the perfectly rotted
compost as it will be mixed through the unrotted stuff. [This mix up
will also happen if you use a hatch at the bottom of a plastic bin.]
Once or twice a year, when you want to use your compost, lift the
bin off the heap, fork the material thatís not ready back into the
bin and shovel up the good compost at the bottom. When you fork the
material over like this, youíre turning it, by the way, and that is
when you mix in the fresh air.
So you always turn your compost Ė but
at different times and in different ways, depending on the type of
bin you use.
January Home Composter
Reusing your Christmas decorations
Dealing with prickly prunings
March Home Composter - Making your own Potting MixesS
April Home Composter
Harvesting Last Year's Compost
May Home Composter -
Dealing with Weeds
June Home Composter
- Too much grass
July Home Composter - Worms and Wormeries
August Home Composter - Your top 5 queries