Cre­at­ing space for more com­post

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

One side of our dual com­post heap has been fill­ing up with green and brown gar­den waste and kitchen peel­ings.

It had al­most be­come too full, so it was time for the rot­ted mix in the other side of the bin to be spread or bagged up to make room for new stuff, while the full heap is left to rot down.

Win­ter’s drop in tem­per­a­ture means that com­post­ing will take slightly longer, so to get the process off to a good start we left a layer of al­ready com­posted ma­te­rial at the bot­tom of the bin. This will be rich in mi­crobes, worms and woodlice that help break down plant ma­te­rial.

It’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing to see what has sur­vived the com­post­ing process. When we had a bag­less vac­uum cleaner that we emp­tied straight on to the heap we had com­post lit­tered with bits of glit­ter, plas­tic stick­ers and even the oc­ca­sional shoe from a Bar­bie doll. now we are more likely to find plas­tic plant la­bels, crocks from emp­tied pots, woody pieces of plant and grass that hasn’t quite bro­ken down enough. Most of these are re­moved and binned, but the partly com­posted grass gets added to the new heap so it goes through the process one more time. The most likely rea­son it hadn’t bro­ken down is be­cause too much was added to the heap in one go, and it wasn’t mixed through well enough.

For the best re­sults, vary the con­tents of your com­post heap and fork it through every few weeks, so all the ma­te­rial breaks down equally.

Leave some com­post so mi­crobes can start to work on new ma­te­rial

Un­com­posted ma­te­rial should be added to the new heap

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