compost heap

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harry

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compost heap
« on: January 04, 2010, 13:03 »
Just started digging my new allotment, i've inherited a compost heap and a compost bin both full. How do i know whether the compost is ready and do i take from the bottom to spread around. Also there are a lot of plants that have gone to seed can i add these to the compost.
Hurray finally retired
two plots now 31A and 35A

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madcat

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2010, 13:14 »
Its done when it is brown and crumbly and (mostly) you cant tell what it was originally.  Depending on the previous owner, it might be really fine or have more woody stuff in it. 

If it was mine, when we can dig again (too cold here at the moment to even think about it), I would dig them out (go careful as there might be hedgehogs or grass snakes or toads hibernating in there) and sort out the good stuff for digging into your plot  and chuck any woody/unrotted stuff back to start the heap off again.  Then you can put the weeds and other green plant material in and come the spring it will all heat up and get going again.  I would add some garrotta or other compost accelerator but the more organic male might go for peeing on it!   :D
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JayG

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2010, 13:19 »
Well, if your heap and bin are not both frozen solid you are luckier than me!

Tip the bin out (or lift the bin off the compost like making a sandcastle if you can); depending on how diligent the previous composter was and when he/she made it you may find wonderfully crumbly material with very few "bits" in it (a bit like bought compost).

More likely you will find some quite good stuff at the bottom, some quite unrotted stuff at the top, and some so-called "rough" compost in the middle.

The good and the rough stuff is fine to use now; you could bury the unrotted stuff in a bean trench if you are making one this year, otherwise put it back in to start your next binful.

Same applies to the heap, except you will have to dig into it to find out how good or bad it is.

As regards composting seeded plants, in theory a hot compost heap will destroy the seeds but in reality few home composters actually achieve that (especially at this time of year). It's really up to you, but be prepared for a lot of hoeing when they all start to germinate!

(Madcat has replied before me but don't think there is too much disagreement!)
Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

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madcat

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2010, 13:23 »
For gardeners - that is perfect harmony of replies!   :D :D

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harry

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2010, 13:57 »
Thanks for the advice, i never thought about anything living in it.

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JayG

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2010, 14:15 »
For gardeners - that is perfect harmony of replies!   :D :D

Yes; a bit worrying that!  :dry:

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noshed

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2010, 14:31 »
When it smells like a walk through the woods, you'll know it's ready. When it smells like your kitchen bin, it isn't.
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sunshineband

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2010, 15:42 »
When it smells like a walk through the woods, you'll know it's ready. When it smells like your kitchen bin, it isn't.

I like this one!

One of the children at school asked how it was that compost came out like manure, when there was no poo in it to start with, just plant stuff  ;)
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solway cropper

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2010, 21:39 »
No poo in it....there is in mine  :)

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sunshineband

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2010, 21:44 »
Ours is pure veggie  :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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harry

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2010, 08:52 »
I'm planning to put horse muck in mine :wub: :happy: :dry:

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Terrier

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2010, 00:04 »
I slide the plastic dalek bin off it's contents. If the stuff is not ready to use, I place the bin along side the pile of compost and fork it back into the bin. Once it's been turned like this it finishes rotting down really quickly.

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harry

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Re: compost heap
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2010, 12:35 »
Thats a good idea, i've got a spare one of those green bins someone gave me. Where in north wales are you terrier :closedeyes:



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