The Home Composter

How to compost

Which bin to choose

Composting safely

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

Composting in early Spring
If youíve only been putting raw kitchen waste into the bin over the past few months, the contents will probably be wet and slimy. Lift off the lid, fork the scraps to one side and mix into them crumpled paper and a few shovels of top soil, then stir the top layers around with a small fork. This should absorb some of the sliminess and get the kitchen waste composting.

You can add orange and lemon skins to your compost bin. Although these peelings are too acidic for worms in a wormery, they break down readily in a Compostabin or New Zealand box and will be well rotted before the worms at the bottom of the heap try to process them.

Warming up for spring

The compost bin  may still be quite cold and the compost at the bottom would be uninviting for seedlings and young plants. Now is the time to try warming up the compost.

The first step is to empty out the compost in your bin thatís ready to use. This will be at the bottom of the bin and covered by compostables that havenít yet broken down. You should lift the bin off the pile and put it on the soil beside the heap. If you donít have space beside the bin, lift the bin away, lay a sheet on the ground, empty the unfinished material onto the sheet and fork it back into the bin when youíve extracted the finished compost. Alternatively, fork the roughish material back into the bin in its new place beside the pile. Shovel the finished compost into a large plastic bag. This should be taken into a greenhouse, polytunnel or shed. It will gradually warm up over a few weeks, so will be at a better temperature for making a compost mix. If the compost is still cold and you are mixing coir with the compost, soak the coir in hot, not cold, water and this will make the mix much warmer.
Stirring the contents warms you as well as the bin!

When you fork the compostable material back into the bin, youíll be mixing in air. This injects warmth, not much at this time of year but it will help. Air is essential in home composting, but it should be remembered that slats and air holes round the edge are of no use Ė in fact the compost will dry out and weeds will probably germinate. To do any good, the air must be in the middle of the heap. With a New Zealand box this can only be achieved by turning the entire pile with a fork. With a plastic compost bin, stick a fork into the top part of the bin and mix the fresh stuff around. Do not dig deep and mix the fresh compostables with the finished compost at the bottom.

The sun is gaining in strength and if it can reach your bin for a good part of the day the air and compostables will warm up. However, the temperature will drop at night so there wonít be much microbial activity yet and you will have to wait before the contents of your bin start to shrink down quickly.

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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