Next year's compost...

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Growster...

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Next year's compost...
« on: September 22, 2023, 18:32 »
As I'm making a determined effort to use more of our own compost next year, because we'll not be allowed to use peat, as commanded by the Commissariat in some godforsaken foreign gummint outpost, I've built a wooden two-bay heap from seven re-cycled pallets and used about a thousand old screws - the sort you take out from an old project, and never throw away...

It's about 4'6" x 2'6" and waist-high with a removeable slot at the bottom, and even after a couple of weeks or so, it's nearly half full! But what amazes me, is the amount of stuff generated in the kitchen, which usually gets chucked into a small container under the sink then spread over the heap!

I'm filling one of those plastic boxes (about a gallon size), every few days now, and that, plus all the bean stems and soft weeds etc., means we're filling the old thing pretty rapidly! The tomato pot compost from the thirty or so plants will be next to go in, where in the past, I've spread it all over the garden, so at least I'll have some peat-based stuff next year!

Why can't 'eco-experts' leave us normal small gardeners alone..?

Here's the Growsterheap in all it's glory, plus a bonus view of the dog's tail...
DSCN9417.JPG

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Kleftiwallah

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2023, 19:03 »
Good evening growster, 
last time I unloaded the compost heap there was far too much 'stemmy stuff' not broken down.  This year I have been making a conserted ?  effort to chop up all the stuff into shorter lengths.

Cheers,  Tony.
I may be growing OLD, but I refuse to grow UP !

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Growster...

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2023, 06:29 »
Good evening growster, 
last time I unloaded the compost heap there was far too much 'stemmy stuff' not broken down.  This year I have been making a conserted ?  effort to chop up all the stuff into shorter lengths.

Cheers,  Tony.

That's a good point K!

So far, the toughest stuff is runner bean stems, and I found last year, that they need the twelve months fo break down, but I won't be putting anything twiggier in!

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snowdrops

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2023, 11:20 »
I tend to trundle the stems of raspberries etc home & shred, then trundle them back.
Runner bean stems etc of which there are too many & too bulky to get home easily I attack with the shears.
I add the cleaning outs from the chicken pen or chicken pellets/ comfrey leaves as an activator, fresh manure if I get it to my filling bin. Anything not rotted when I clear out bin no.5 that it all works its way to, just goes back in bin 1. My wooden bins-all 5 are lined with thick phenolic foam that Ive acquired, with a block of it on top too & a polycarbonate lid. The hear really gets up on the freshly filled & turned bins, sometimes up to 70c (bit too hot ideally) that I measure with my compost thermometer  :lol:
Im a bit of a compost nerd really, I just love making it
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steven c

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2023, 15:08 »
looks great  we try to make as much as we can 6 daleks in 1st when full into 2nd etc by the time it comes out the end about a year it is great stuff [any woody bits go back to the staart again] this we mix with horse manure it does make great compost for toms and spuds [in tubs] something very satisfying with it all.
from bow like to grow

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Snow

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2023, 20:08 »
I have a two bay pallet setup and a dalek. For the pallets I use metal wire to secure then, seems to work ok. My maturing heap was filled up all year, I turned it a few weeks ago with the intention of using it late autumn and winter as I pull crops out. The one I have just started is already quite full, as you found out the stuff you add around this time of year is very bulky!  Chopping it less than 6 inches in length is a good idea

I think it's impossible to make all the compost a garden/allotment needs just from what you can use from them and kitchen scraps. I add seaweed, leaves, part composted wood chips to bulk it out. I think I worked out I need about 1500 litres of compost a year.

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Odders

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2023, 01:13 »
Best thing I ever bought was a garden shredder, as it means brassica stems, broad bean & tomato stems & a host of other 'non woody' stuff gets chopped up & thus decomposes along with everything else.
On top of that, it's shredded at least ten of those builder's dumpy bags full of privet, dogwood cotoneaster & a host of other things which grow out of control if untended (I help friends out whose gardens have run amok in exchange for the material produced).
Many people don't realise how much compost is needed if you're going 'no dig' & fertiliser free, so consider this:
A standard allotment is roughly 250m
Actual growing area (paths, sheds, compost bays excluded) will be around 75% of that, say 180m.
To provide the soil's needs & ensure a good crop, a 2.5-3cm layer of compost is required.
180x.03=5.4m of compost, every year. That's roughly 3 tons.
I have a mere 75m of beds (including greenhouse & polytunnel) & this alone needs 2.25m of compost & despite 300m of lawns, 60m of hedge, weeds, harvest waste, more than 400kg of shredded cardboard (industrial office shredder) & scrounging, I still only manage just over 60% of that & have to buy in either fertiliser or compost.
Heck, my thirty, 30 litre potato tubs swallow 0.9m of compost every year BUT 80% of that volume is recovered & as it's more broken down & with some added blood fish & bone, becomes the next year's seed, potting & bedding plant medium.
I have:
A twin bay, holding 1.5m
A single large bay for another 1.5m
Two 'Daleks' at 0.3m each
A .25m bin I'm using to make seaweed compost to try & replicate the Jersey Royal taste we used to have from International Kidney potatoes.
Bear in mind all these volumes reduce by half or more as the contents break down.

OK, I admit it: I find making compost almost as compelling as actually growing things.  :D

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Ali T

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2023, 16:12 »
Hi All - last month I built 2 new compost bays out of 5 old pallets, and was going to use another 2 old pallets as 'doors' for the bays, however, these pallets are SO heavy, they are really heavy duty (Which is great) but I'm not sure if trying to use the remaining pallets as doors is a good idea, or whether it may be better to use something lighter - perhaps a couple of pieces of chipboard that can easily be hinged? Any suggestions?

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pepsi100

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2023, 16:34 »
I've never tried building a composter from pallets, I just dont have the room, I have a dalek type composter and a hotbin, the hotbin is a lot more efficient than the dalek bin as long as you mix up the green and brown stuff well

The dalek bin takes a lot longer, I just lift it up, move it and shovel it back in, any stalks, twigs get cut into smaller bits, a handful of goratta in there, its plenty mixed up, the bugs like it in there, its out of the wind and rain and is probably better for them, but it can take a year to get decent compost from it
It's all about the journey, not the destination

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Growster...

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2023, 17:53 »
Hi All - last month I built 2 new compost bays out of 5 old pallets, and was going to use another 2 old pallets as 'doors' for the bays, however, these pallets are SO heavy, they are really heavy duty (Which is great) but I'm not sure if trying to use the remaining pallets as doors is a good idea, or whether it may be better to use something lighter - perhaps a couple of pieces of chipboard that can easily be hinged? Any suggestions?

I wouldn't use chipboard, Ali, because it'll degrade in the wet like wet cardboard...

Can you separate the parts of the pallets easily? That way, you can nail the boards where you want them!

I had to use a hacksaw to get through the various nails on the pallets - it took some time, but at least I got the size of board I wanted - for free!

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muckyboots

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2023, 14:36 »
HI all, i shred all my raspberry canes (got given a shredder free :D ) i chuck other stuff on the lawn and run over it with the mower speeds up the process .We seem to of the same mind ,I like composting stuff too!

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Dekzion

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2023, 16:39 »
Hi All - last month I built 2 new compost bays out of 5 old pallets, and was going to use another 2 old pallets as 'doors' for the bays, however, these pallets are SO heavy, they are really heavy duty (Which is great) but I'm not sure if trying to use the remaining pallets as doors is a good idea, or whether it may be better to use something lighter - perhaps a couple of pieces of chipboard that can easily be hinged? Any suggestions?
Plastic stack-able second use pallets  is the way to go. I bought 10 from Southampton and wired them together into 3 bays.  couple of years ago they were 8 each.

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pepsi100

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2023, 16:51 »
Never used pallets, I just dont have the room, I just have two composters, a hot bin and a round dalek type of composter
They work well for me
But I have seem some impressive composters made from pallets, but I have no idea how long they take to break down a produce compost or usable soil

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coldandwindy

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2023, 09:36 »
I'm another that uses the lawnmower to shred & mix things, especially leaves.

Bigger stalks I leave whole to loosen the mix & save me turning it as much. I riddle the finished compost before use anyway. There are probably some sticks in there that have been going round again for years.

@Ali T,  re. doors- have a look at your local tip. Just go with an open mind & see what's there that wouldn't rot or have toxic paint peeling off it etc.  Don't discount palettes, yes they're heavy but how often will you be opening it?
 I've got three bins. The door of one is the side of my chicken house that blew down, the second is a palette, the third is a very clever system of boards that slot into a gap & slide down. The last works very badly because the boards swell in the wet. Don't know what I was thinking!   ::)
 In my hands at least, the unsophisticated "just tie something on the front" solutions work best!  :D

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coldandwindy

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Re: Next year's compost...
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2023, 10:05 »
Many people don't realise how much compost is needed if you're going 'no dig' & fertiliser free, so consider this:
A standard allotment is roughly 250m
Actual growing area (paths, sheds, compost bays excluded) will be around 75% of that, say 180m.
To provide the soil's needs & ensure a good crop, a 2.5-3cm layer of compost is required.
180x.03=5.4m of compost, every year. That's roughly 3 tons.........
 I still only manage just over 60% of that & have to buy in either fertiliser or compost.
Heck, my thirty, 30 litre potato tubs swallow 0.9m of compost every year BUT 80% of that volume is recovered & as it's more broken down & with some added blood fish & bone, becomes the next year's seed, potting & bedding plant medium.
I have:
A twin bay, holding 1.5m
A single large bay for another 1.5m......
OK, I admit it: I find making compost almost as compelling as actually growing things.  :D
What an interesting post, thank you!

My growing area is about 150sqm, not including paths, compost bins, greenhouse & pots, etc. It's divided into a four-year rotation & I only manage to make enough compost for a deep* layer on one of the 4 sections. (Lucky to have other free stuff for 2 more of the 4 :) , happy to divulge but didn't want to write an essay.)

I went to an open day at a commercial market garden that uses all no-dig. Came away disappointed. They didn't have an answer that would suit me! They were buying in huge quantities of green waste from the council & had no idea what was in it - could have been sprayed with anything, someone's blighted spud tops etc from the tip, or Japanese knotweed from the roadside - they had no idea at all.  A concreted area had the heap piled on it & they were turning with a JCB bucket - that's the scale we're talking about, but don't know how they're allowed to sell the veg. as "organic".

*I use 3-4 inches so I don't have to weed. I'd say your 2.5-3 cm is good for nourishment but I feel I need double that as a minimum and preferably more, for no dig.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2023, 11:47 by coldandwindy »



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