Turning your Compost

How to Compost

Compost safely

Emptying your bin

To turn or not to turn?

Worms and Wormeries

Topical Composting

Kitchen waste

Prickly prunings

Weeds and weeds

Too much grass?

Leaves for leafmould



Composting demonstrated

School Wormeries

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.
turning heapThese 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
February Home Composter 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

Posted 16/09/08

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