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In relation to my recent blog with reference to compost. My council take away garden rubbish and cardboard in a new wheelie bin, but (at the moment) there is no charge to do this. The compost in question was a bag that i had purchased from a garden centre, Westlands i think, and luckily i had only purchased a couple of bags. There were lumps of what looked like cardboard in that compost, i shall avoid westlands compost in future!
I had read in The National Begonia Society booklet, in some articles that other growers had sent in and had been printed, about some government rules that compost being sold was supposed to have some waste in it. Unfortunately i must have thrown that copy away now, as i can’t find it (or i can’t see for staring!).
Reading some of the comments that were kindly left to my last blog, i am wondering about making some compost myself. My garden is a small one and has been slabbed down for a path, greenhouses and cold frames. I am unsure as to whether a compost bin would work on slabs, if it would there will be room for one. I will need to find and purchase some books on the subject, and read up on what to put in a compost bin. I have no grass cuttings, mostly Begonia leaves as they have been going down, although most have now come off. Maybe some of the compost from this season would be ok to put in a compost bin, or would that need to be sterilised? I shall have to find out.
Thanks for the idea, I shall be looking into this.

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Was the compost you bought 'peat-free'? If it was, it was the same type that I tried back in the early summer. That had pieces of what looked like shredded cardboad in it, it was very coarse in texture. I pricked out some healthy seedlings into it, and they virtually stopped growing! It was awful stuff and I shan't be using it again. Yes, old compost can be put into your new bin when you get it! - without sterilising it, too. Just mix it in with other stuff, veggie peelings, begonia leaves, shredded paper, whatever you've got. Go for it - even a small amount is useful!

27 Nov, 2007


Hi Mark, why not contact your local council, my council did a campaign recently and offered compost bins for cost price, i got my first one for just eight pounds and they also sent me loads of info with all the do's and don'ts with composting, even if you have the compost bins it might be worth a phone call, i also got a kitchen waist bucket - which is really handy, and a fridge magnet with 'browns' and 'greens' listed - this pack has made it really easy for me. i've never done it before this year but it seems to be working! - good luck!

28 Nov, 2007


Hi Mark. IWe got our first compost bin free from our Council in a piloy ptoject, and the second for £8 with a free kitchen caddy. All advice I have read and hold says to place bins on soil to allow access to worms, minibeasts and micro-organisms, with a layer of twiggy material in the bottom for said access and for air circulation. Our bins were sited and started in this way and produce great compost. I do not think, therefore, that it would be good for you to site a bin on slabs. Could you, perhaps, lift some in a corner somewhere?

29 Nov, 2007


Thanks for all the comments, i have been reading through them all. I think i've found a small space behind one of the greenhouses for a bin to go (need to get the bin and see the exact size to be sure). Glad i'm not the only one that found some bad compost as now i know that it's not just me! Hopefully if the problem with that compost was just that westlands had bagged up the compost too soon, they should also learn how to compost properly soon, although if they are selling it you would think they would have done that before they sold any!
Before i go any further i do need to know how good the quality is likely to be, I suppose it depends on what i put in, but i have no actual garden with plants growing in it, there is only what is in the greenhouses. I don't have a lot of food waste either as i live alone. There will be a lot of compost that i have used for the plants this year, as I brush the compost from the tubers before starting them off again next year. I would assume that i will need to mix something with it, perhaps multipurpose compost, I don't know, I I do need good quality compost if the Begonias are to win at the shows in future years. I would assume that any compost i start to make won't be ready to use for a year or two?

30 Nov, 2007


it does take a while mark i started in the spring and mine is still not ready, so i would guess a year to 18 months to brew. to be honest i am not sure about old compost as i generally chuck mine on the garden, i do get lots of kitchen and garden waist, leaves, shurb cuttings after pruning, grass after cutting, i have to add cardboard and paper to level out the 'greens' and 'browns' and i think that is the key to good compost, equal quanties. so i would'nt know what to saggest, how about autumn leaves do you have any of thoughs in your garden? i would think manure would be good - but not one i use myself - far too smelly! lol

30 Nov, 2007


Hi Mark! I think that the most important thing to consider, as far as type of compost container is concerned, is ease of access for turning the pile and extracting the compost. I believe that a site in part shade is better than full sun, and equal quantities of brown and green waste are needed to make the best material (brown includes paper, cardboard, eggshells, etc. and green includes foliage, plants, grass cuttings, etc) In my mind, I always think of brown as being alkaline, and green as acid) - or, if I were on a diet - a green week or day, or a brown one!). Unlike our bodies, however, we can churn it all up once in a while to mix it sort of evenly. We got our first bin in April last year and by March this year it had produced enough smooth crumbly compost to fertilise all the veggy beds, without any real effort apart from 2 turns with a fork and - I hate to state this online - 3 bottles of personal urine - not wine, or even champagne, but good old Tetleys - as an accelerator, LOL!

30 Nov, 2007

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