Saturday, 1 March 2008

Top tips from a successful composter

Here is what a friend of mine had to say, after reading the latest blog. She lives in the north of North America, so has much more snow and cold to deal with than I ever will!

Over to her:

* I don't add paper - the layers between the green and the brown can be thick and adding paper shouldn't be necessary. I find that come summer, my bin, which looks more like your second one, gets a wee bit hot so I'll go hose some water into it - or when I know it's about to rain I'll go take the lid off & allow it to get rained into - the water will help get things wetter and that should encourage the good rotting to get started - and it will also help to sodden down grass clippings and leaves as they get piled in.

* Mine is usually full by the end of summer (with the leaves that get raked into it) and I just have to leave it be dormant all winter here as it will sometimes freeze through. Then in the early spring consider turning it- essentially how I do this is just lift it up and off the current spot & put it right beside where it is. Then I fork the stuff from the top of the pile into the bottom of the bin - when I start hitting soil I stop, and I use that in the bottom of garden beds - it's a lovely rich black stuff that plants love.

* Add worms. Yup - garden centres and some fishing places sell red wrigglers - these are the best here - and they can be added in the early spring as well.

* Get a compost poker. It looks like a stick with a little flappy hooky thingie on the end and essentially you sort of jab it into the pile and pull - the hooky thingie opens and helps create aeration within the stack (and come hot summer this will give worms in the middle of the pile a quicker way down into cooler soil below) pitch fork works well also, I just find it more work.

End of advice - my grateful thanks to my friend! I have a compost poker - bought it off the same site as I did the bin as it did seem like a necessary and possibly work-saving thing. I may consider adding worms as well.

Happy composting one and all!

Any other advice, please feel free to add your own stories!

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