Composter

johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
Do you use anything for the floor and roof?

Nothing on the floor, which is good for drainage and allowing the worms access. A sheet of plastic, preferably black (to absorb extra heat and stop too much evaporation) and that is it really. Good composting is about 'aerobic' decay so you need to give the bin access to air, water and worms and warmth. A bin made of pallets of about 1M in width gives what is generally accepted to be the minimum 'best volume', with composting, bigger is better. The black plastic council giveaway composters make up for the lack of volume by providing relatively good insulation and by being black they absorb heat from sunlight very well. They too tend to have no bottom, thus allowing access to those creepie crawlies who actually break down the material.

We have both types in the garden, I tend to start things off in the plastic bins and then finish them in the wooden bin. Takes maybe 3 to 4 months on average. I also water the composting material in dry weather as this helps the decay process (a watering can of water every 2-3 days).

But I am quite lucky in that I have enough space in my garden (c 600 sq M) for both, but the plastic bins are very compact and do a pretty good job really.
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
Sounds easy enough...I was thinking of making 2 pallet bins, side by side, one for fresh green waste, and then turn it into the other to continue maturing.

Stupid question, but do you add cut grass into your bins or does grass not compost well?
 

johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
So long as you mix it with other stuff, its a valuable addition. If you have nothing but grass cuttings, it tends to compact down too much and the air can't circulate so you tend to get anaerobic decay (ie slimey smelly decay). But a layer (up to say 4") of grass followed by a layer of something else before more grass is added should be fine.
(Also, a layer of sticks in the bottom helps drainage. Not too many, but enough to cause a small air gap)
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Every now & then I have a mammoth shredding frenzy of old bank statements, etc. This goes in the compost bin with the grass cuttings & helps prevent them compacting.

Shredded paper composts surprisingly well.

My other tip is to introduce worms rather than waiting for them to show up of their own accord. Whenever I move a pot or anything else that's been standing for a while, the few worms that are invariably underneath get chucked in the bin. It's amazing how quickly they multiply.
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
I was in a recycling yard over the weekend and found these 2 crates tucked away in the corner. Not one to resist a bargain (I got them for free), I loaded them into my trailer and took them home.

Now I've got them home, I'm wondering what you guys think of them in terms of making them into compost bins. I intend to use 1 over the summer and then swap the contents into the 2nd to mature.

Would it be easiest just to sheet all 4 sides and drill a few holes, or should I leave every 2nd slat open for aeration?

Anything else I should be considering?


09062009794-1.jpg


09062009793-1.jpg
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Have to say I'm no gardener, more the missus' Horticultural Labourer! ;)

I'd say the gaps are too big & stuff will fall out but John's pallets must have similar gaps, so hopefully he'll chip in. Rather than board it, maybe line it with heavy duty black polythene. That will aid heat absorption & stop it drying out too much. It will slow down the timber rotting away as well. I guess something like chicken wire would be an option also.

If the construction will allow it, see if you can remove the bottom so that beasties can get in. You also need to work out how to remove the finished product so some sort of door/hatch at ground level will be required.
 

johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
Dony, your freebies should be fine just as they are. They look like a good size, so the centres should get quite warm enough. There is no real need to line them, although it would make them somewhat warmer and thus more efficient. The bottom slats will rot away quite quickly one way or another, or break under the weight of a full damp compost bin, but that shouldn't be a critical problem. If you don't line the bins but do treat the wood with preservative, then the bins should last for many years. The only other thing I can think of at the moment is that when the bin is full, you may have a devil of a job getting the stuff out from one bin to the other, as you will have to lean over and lift it all out of the top. So, perhaps when it is brimming over, cover it with a sheet of black plastic and just leave it, giving it a mix once in a while (bi-monthly) and a can of water if it looks too dry.

Not bad for free though!
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the advice guys. :thumbsup:

Not bad for free though!
I went to the yard looking for some spare pallets. The yardman asked what they were for, and when I told him he said I've got the things for you :D


What I think I'll do is flip the crates over, so the open side is on the ground (giving easy access to the little critters). I'll also cut out a slot on the top for filling, and one on the bottom for emptying.

I have some sheets of plywood lying in the garage, so will probably cover up some of the slats (a lot of rain where I live!), and then treat the whole thing with a wood preserve.

I'm sure it'll be a bit of trial and error to get it right, but at least now I can do something useful with food, paper and garden waste. It should also be helpful when my vegetable garden takes shape, though that's not for a while yet.
 
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johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
I'm sure it'll be a bit of trial and error to get it right, ...

When all is said and done, composting in one form or another has been going on quite merrily since vegetation first appeared on the planet. Getting it wrong would be a bit of an achievement :D
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
Can't argue with that :D

You wouldn't think I used to sell anaerobic digestive systems, in-vessel composters, and windrow turners for a living!!! :eek:

I know how to compost a million tonne a year, but the problem I'm having with doing it myself, is that my in-vessel is a bit more primitive than what I'm used to. :rolleyes:

The principles are the same though, so I'll get cracking over the weekend. :thumbsup:
 

Alpers

Standard Member
Hi all,

I got two 330L Blackwall Composter just lying in my garden to give away. Anyone can collect them for free if interested.

I am in Harrow, Middlesex HA2 0WG Postcode.

Reply if interested for collection Time.

Only one per person / First come first serve.

Many thanks

Alpers :smashin:
 
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