Composting

Abertawe

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Does anyone else compost? I've got a bin that I fill with dog shit, grass, leaves and veg & fruit scraps. Hoping for some damn fine compost.
 

Abertawe

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I added some worms the other day. I had to balance em on a stick because they're too gross to touch. Lots of woodlouse and small little bugs having a good time in there too.
 

Habbinalan

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I make loads. We have a lot of "wildflower meadow" mowings and garden waste, so too much for bins.

I'd be hesitant about putting much dog shit in there (main danger is parasitic roundworms), depending what you're going to use it for. I admit to putting cat shit (more dangerous because of toxoplasmosis) in mine but I make so much it's pretty diluted and also I ensure that it heats up properly.
 

Habbinalan

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I added some worms the other day. I had to balance em on a stick because they're too gross to touch. Lots of woodlouse and small little bugs having a good time in there too.
Ideally you need the smaller red worms that live in decaying organic matter. I often find them in some old compost heaps and spread them around in the new ones. Your typical garden earthworms live in the soil and won't breed in a compost bin.
 

Abertawe

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I make loads. We have a lot of "wildflower meadow" mowings and garden waste, so too much for bins.

I'd be hesitant about putting much dog shit in there (main danger is parasitic roundworms), depending what you're going to use it for. I admit to putting cat shit (more dangerous because of toxoplasmosis) in mine but I make so much it's pretty diluted and also I ensure that it heats up properly.
Would dog shit matter if the compost isn't to be used for food & stuff?
 

Leo

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Abertawe

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What's your thoughts on this H ?.....As part of our recycling bins allocated by our council we have a bin which is (or was) solely for food waste. However we are advised to deposit dog & cat poo in the same bin. I have actually phoned the council and had this confirmed.
They put it in landfill anyway I think.
 

Habbinalan

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What's your thoughts on this H ?.....As part of our recycling bins allocated by our council we have a bin which is (or was) solely for food waste. However we are advised to deposit dog & cat poo in the same bin. I have actually phoned the council and had this confirmed.
The council organic waste is composted professionally in rows/heaps that are turned reqularly and all of it gets up to sufficient temperature to kill any pathogens, parasites and weed seeds. Essentially it is cooked with the heat that it generates itself.

The problem that we amateurs have is getting the right mix of ingredients to generate the heat, especially at the edges of small heaps - hence the need to turn it if you're going to do it properly.

In one of my old jobs, I had clients who made thousands of tonnes of compost for growing mushrooms and my employers (ADAS) moved into composting and advising on domestic waste for councils.

It won't go in Landfill, that's too expensive an option (Landfill Tax), The stuff made down our way goes to all kinds of outlets and uses.
 
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As H says what commercial composters do is hot composting because they have the amount of material to get the required heat to compost quickly. We amateurs cold compost which is much more tricky to get right. Key things I would suggest are:
1) think through what your container will be. It needs to allow some air in, and ideally have something on top to keep the heat in.
2) the ratio of brown (newspaper, cardboard, woody veg like sprour’s stalks and brown old leaves)is about seventy per cent to thirty per cent green ( your grass clippings, veg peelings etc). I have no idea what do poo is classified as. But the common mistake most people do is rely on Greens and not have enough carbon from browns and it leads to a slimey mess. I layer brown and green alternatively, and always start and finish with the brown.
3) the best compost I have made is when I have used a shredding machine or run the lawn mower over it (maybe not with poo!)The smaller the material the quicker it will compost. For example, I soak newspaper and then shred in layers of it between the veg peelings.
4) Try and get some material from an existing mature compost heap, it acts like a starter in soda bread.
5) The more you can put in at any one time the more likely it is to heat up and compost quickly. Nitrogen in the form of your greens helps break down the material. A useful activator is human pee (apparently the first one of the morning is best).
6) Turn your heap a couple of times - fork it out on to a tarpaulin and then put it back in a different order. This kick starts the micro-organisms and encourages the bits that have not broken down yet to do so.
7) Remember a good compost heap needs heat, water and air.

I sometimes add a bit of tree leaves in the autumn, but don’t add too much. The process for tree leaves to be composted is different, based on a fungus not micro organisms, and so takes a lot longer. So normally I have a separate heap for my leaves. I can get garden compost in three to six months, but leaf mould takes a minimium of a year and is better after two.
 

Abertawe

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Not currently but I'ma move to the country soon so definitely would, they look really good, hadn't heard of them before.
 

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