Turning your Compost

How to Compost

Composting safely

Which Bin to  Choose?

Your compost ingredients

Emptying your bin

To turn or not to turn?

How long to compost?

Worms and Wormeries

Topical Composting

Kitchen Waste

Prickly prunings

Weeds and Weeds

Too much grass

Leaves for Leafmould

Seasonal Tips


Advice sheets

Unwelcome Guests

To turn or not to turn?
It is not necessary to turn the contents of your compost bin in order to make good compost - though it may take a little longer to completely rot down if you never turn it.

However, recent research as promoted by the Royal College of Physicians, shows that turning compost for 30 minutes burns 250 - 300 calories, the equivalent to working out on a treadmill. And shovelling up compost when you empty your bin burns 243-363 calories. Presumably depending on how heavy and soggy the compost is.
So - forget the gym and turn your compost!  

Traditional bins like New Zealand boxes need some turning.
These bins work on a 2 year cycle with oneturning heap 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
moisture in and prevent any essential warmth from escaping.

At the end of the year, the full bay can be covered over with old carpet or bubble film or lots of cardboard, and ideally topped with a solid lid to keep snow out and warmth and moisture in. After another year, while you are using the second bay for fresh material, youíll have perfect, crumbly compost in the first bay. When you have used this in the garden and have an empty bay, you can turn the contents of its neighbour in to it. If this is all the turning you do you will still make good compost.

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.

Composting problem?
 Contact us if you would like us to answer your query. We'll try to give a helpful answer!



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