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wellington womble

Enough compost

Is like enough cheese - there's no such thing! I've already bought in 10 sacks from the garden centre just for sowing seedlings and potting up the tomatoes and various other things in the greenhouse. And not even thought about putting any on the beds, which could do with a really good dressing of it. Any tips for making more of it? Obviously, I compost all our suitable kitchen and garden waste, and although we have no animals at the moment, having chickens didn't make enough either. Can you buy it in bulk bags anywhere? I've wondered about getting deliveries of straw or woodchips to rot down or even cadging grass cuttings (I've plenty of space, although I use most of my grass cuttings as mulch to keep weeds down) What does everyone else do?

Does your local council compost garden waste and sell it?

If you speak confidently, they may even Give you a few tonnes as a sample ! Wink

beware of council and commercial composts they often are poor quality and sometimes have unpleasant things in them.
Jam Lady

Does your local cafe give away coffee grounds? I bring a clean 5 gallon bucket to the cafe. They dump grounds (and filters) into bucket and I pick up every 2nd or 3rd day, providing a clean replacement bucket.

Shredded newspaper breaks down very well, especially if mixed with the coffee grounds. Shredding is best as the sheets can mat up and are very slow to rot. We have a paper shredder for disposal of office paper like old bills, credit card statements, etc. That's also good material for composting, but try and get a unit that also handles newspaper.

Corrugated cardboard can be laid down to deter weeds, then covered with autumn leaves etc for appearances and to retain moisture. You'll be amazed how quickly corrugated cardboard breaks down.

Is there a pet store near you? If they have Guinea pigs and rabbits for sale as pets these little animals cage cleanings (sawdust and bunny poop) are excellent for composting. Get another couple of empty 5 gallon buckets . . . . They'll probably be happy to have a means of disposing of this "waste."

Important thing is to be very reliable about picking up buckets and providing clean buckets.
Mistress Rose

Those sound like good ideas Jam Lady. We rot down our spare sawdust from the firewood processor, but it takes a long time. We have had a couple of dumpy sacks full already, and I also have charcoal fines. I just mixed some of them with the worm compost and some ordinary garden compost I made, so hope that it makes a good top dressing.
Jam Lady

Best composting comes when there are browns and greens mixed together.

Browns are carbon source, from things like corrugated cardboard, newspaper, autumn leaves, and wood shavings.

Greens are nitrogen source, from things such as urine, grass clippings, green weeds, and single element fertilizers such as urea, nitrate of soda, dried blood.

Small pieces decay more readily than do very big pieces (microbes don't have teeth, easier to begin working at the edges) At the same time very small pieces (your sawdust, perhaps) can pack down, there is little air getting into the pile. You want aerobic composting, not anaerobic.

Remember you are making compost, not lasagna. Layers are not as efficient as well mixed greens and browns. More browns than greens gives better results. Dish heap so it is slightly hollow in the center. That allows rain to percolate into the heap rather than run off. The heap should be about as damp as a moderately well squeezed sponge.

Mistress Rose, I think the issue with your sawdust is that it is a carbon source and needs some nitrogen to get it going. Those in the family who have better aim might want to - ahem - supplement the sawdust pile to get it going.
Mistress Rose

I might suggest that the lads use the heap. We can't get green stuff in except possibly sticks, as we just don't move it further than we have to. The sawdust is in a couple of tractor tyres to contain it, and the rest gets spread. A small amount goes to the farm shop for smoking bacon, so the best we can do really.

In the garden I put sticks, shredded paper, weeds, and kitchen waste into the heap as and when I have them. I try to mix long dry grass, fresh mowings and shredded paper with other things so they don't clog.
wellington womble

Thank you. I will try see what I can find locally.

with local you know what went in

a good heap can "eat"most things but herbicide dehydrated oil seed plants etc(as found in some horse bedding )is a bad idea
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