Diary of a compost bin

Day 1 | Day 5 | Day 8 | Day 10 |

 

Day 1 – 24 June 2019

Bin filled with a mixture of grass clippings, shredded green garden waste and shredded woody prunings. Contents thoroughly mixed and damped down with water. Bin about three quarters full. Temporary rain cover added as storms forecast.

Please note: clear polythene is old stock, permanent lids will be made of recycled plywood.

Temperatures 24 hours after filling

Upper middle 72C Upper edge 63C
Deep middle 66C Deep edge 52C

Day 5 – 28 June 2019
The heap is cooling now, will check the temperature and turn into the next bay if it has dropped below 50C. The mix seems a bit wet so will leave uncovered to dry out a little.

Day 8 – 01 July 2019
I decide to turn the heap into bay 2, it was still hot with lots of steam. It is always difficult to judge when to turn it and I think it was too soon. There was a lot of material building up and the lawn needed mowing again.

It would have been better to leave bin 1 going and start a new batch in bin 2. Then bin 1 could have been turned in another week or so. Too late now! The temperature in bin 2 has risen to around 45C.

Day 10 – 03 July 2019
Bin 1 was filled again with the usual combination of garden waste and grass cuttings. The trick is to get the correct ratio of greens (N) to browns (C). See this page and the correct amount of moisture. The contents should be damp but not soaking wet, a bit like a wrung out sponge.

When using grass cuttings make sure they are evenly mixed throughout the heap. NEVER add material in layers, everything needs to be mixed or you will get a layer of soggy grass cuttings in between layers of other material.

It is always best to make a complete batch in one go rather than adding stuff as it becomes available. That is not always easy but it helps if you have a large ornamental garden and another gardener or two to do the pruning.

Shredding  speeds up composting but if you don’t have a shredder use garden shears to chop material.

 

Links
Making compost the myths and realities

Making compost, notes