Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!

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maddave

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Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« on: March 26, 2014, 13:14 »
The previous owner of my plot left a large compost heap that doesnít seem to be doing anything. I have poked around in it and found loads of old plastic bags, dustbin lids, polystyrene etc and I donít know what to do about it. Iíve cleared as much of the non organic stuff out of it that I can find, but whatís left doesnít look very rotted down.  Itís full of thick white roots and has nettles growing out of it from every direction. I have had it covered in black plastic for a while hoping to heat it up, but it doesnít seem to do anything.  With all the weeds in it, I dont really want to be putting this back on my plot.

Should I just leave it and hope it rots down, or would it be best to just spend the day transporting it down the tip and starting again?  Itís very large at around 3.3 cubic metres so would be a lot of effort to sort and clear it.  I have a lot of green compostable material I want to put somewhere, but a bit reluctant with the current heap as I feel it would just be wasted if I cannot use it in the end.  I would prefer to just start a fresh, build myself a better heap and get started again.

Would be grateful for any advice whether I am worrying about nothing!

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Aunt Sally

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2014, 13:27 »
I would start a fresh heap and leave the one you have wrapped in black plastic for a while (all summer perhaps) to see if you can kill off the roots.  Taking it to the dump would be such an effort  :ohmy:
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surbie100

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2014, 13:42 »
I had similar when I took my plot on. I ended up spending a day going through the heap carefully, removing the non-organic rubbish and burning the rest. The burning was quicker than covering it up and it was all in the wrong place on the plot anyway...

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ptarmigan

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2014, 13:50 »
It seems a shame to waste a big pile of organic stuff or bin it - and what a hassle taking it to the tip.

If it isn't in the way and you have enough space then I'd do as suggested and cover with black plastic (old compost bags), weigh it down and leave to rot down. By the end of the summer it should have, mostly, rotted down and you should be able to pick out any obvious weeds that haven't.

I put a load of couch grass, lumps of clay etc that I had after digging out beds into black plastic compost bags left them and after a year (!) it was all ready to put back on the beds - highly useful organic matter!

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Eightball

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2014, 14:05 »
I have something similar on my new half plot, although not as big. Haven't got round to sorting it out yet as I have loads of other stuff to be getting on with. Looked like it had an old spray bottle of weed killer in there as well. If some of that stuff leached out of the bottle how long does it last?

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snowdrops

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2014, 14:23 »
If you don't mind using weed killers & want to be rid of it sooner than possibly a year you could let the light to it & then when growth starts spray it with a systemic weed killer as per the instructions on said weed killer,leave it to die off. Usually. 2 weeks,dig it over & wait & see if anything else grows,if so repeat procedure until weeds are definitely gone.

I have something similar on my new half plot, although not as big. Haven't got round to sorting it out yet as I have loads of other stuff to be getting on with. Looked like it had an old spray bottle of weed killer in there as well. If some of that stuff leached out of the bottle how long does it last?

Depends on what weed killer some are inactive with contact with soil when diluted but I wouldn't know when concentrated,perhaps contact the manufacturer.
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maddave

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 15:14 »
Thanks all.  It is unfortunately in the ideal place for a compost heap, and I dont really have the room to start another one.
As I really dont fancy lugging it all to the tip, I think I will try the weed killer/persevere method.  Hopefully it will start to heat up as the spring/summer gets going and start to rot down quicker.

Thanks again.


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3759allen

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 15:59 »
as it's such a large heap i would divide the heap into 3 or 4 smaller ones.

obviously if you want it in the same place you'll have to dig or rake it all out to make the smaller heaps in the existing area. remove as many of the roots and rubbish as you can.

then fill one of the new smaller heaps with whats left. adding compfrey, manure or soil can help increase the worm and bacteria population. cover the heap with black plastic or carpet and leave until the end of summer.

by this time you should have one fresh heap, this heap, and spare one. so you can then turn it from one bin to the other spare one, then assess how it's going.

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crh75

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2014, 16:11 »
A good suggestion from 3759allen, having several compost heaps: one filling, one or more composting and one for use, is much easier to manage. 

I think the main thing to get good compost is to try and turn it over as much as possible.  In an ideal world, take it all out then put it back (or turn straight into a new heap), but in reality getting a fork in as deep as possible and turning will help.

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maddave

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2014, 16:47 »
as it's such a large heap i would divide the heap into 3 or 4 smaller ones.

obviously if you want it in the same place you'll have to dig or rake it all out to make the smaller heaps in the existing area. remove as many of the roots and rubbish as you can.

then fill one of the new smaller heaps with whats left. adding compfrey, manure or soil can help increase the worm and bacteria population. cover the heap with black plastic or carpet and leave until the end of summer.

by this time you should have one fresh heap, this heap, and spare one. so you can then turn it from one bin to the other spare one, then assess how it's going.

Great suggestion.  Didn't think to try and spread it a bit.  There is enough room beside it to add a small pallet extension. I'll try and see what I can come up with.

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wbmkk

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2014, 18:49 »
I would try and separate the stuff a bit and try to dry it out. (remove non organic matter)

Have a bonfire and burn everything.

I was lucky, the last plot hold where I am now left an old galvanised bin, which had been made into an incinerator. However, if you ask around, I am sure one of your neighbours would lend you one.

Just remember, if you burn any wood, which might have nails in ... just use a riddle when tipping the ash back on to your plot.

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3759allen

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2014, 20:58 »
from what little i've learnt, a thinner taller compost / manure heap will heat up a lot more and quicker than a large diameter shallow one. this heat will be the key to rotting down the mix.

the only trouble you might find that if making your own / adding to your own is building one tall enough but also finding some way of creating a door/ opening to keep the contents in and remove when you want to move it to another or use it.

i would say a heap 1m x 1m and 1.5m tall would be the max to aim for, could prob go thinner.

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snowdrops

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Re: Keep compost/rubbish heap or start again?!
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2014, 21:35 »
I would try and separate the stuff a bit and try to dry it out. (remove non organic matter)

Have a bonfire and burn everything.

I was lucky, the last plot hold where I am now left an old galvanised bin, which had been made into an incinerator. However, if you ask around, I am sure one of your neighbours would lend you one.

Just remember, if you burn any wood, which might have nails in ... just use a riddle when tipping the ash back on to your plot.

Or dangle a powerful magnet over the cooled ash.



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