Another aspect which we are exploring is how we handle rubbish. On the allotment (and indeed in the kitchen) we will be producing a fair amount of green waste, which can be put to good use in our composting bins. Along with the shed, we inherited two plastic composting bins on the allotment, which has some compost already in. Whats there is mixed; theres some usable stuff, with some unrotted material in there as well. We will make a sieve from scavenged materials to sort this out sometime soon. Once emptied we will start afresh with empty bins for the coming year.
A good mix
For the new compost bin we will mix up the waste going in. About half of this will be soft green waste including grass clippings, annual weeds, vegetable peelings and even some good old horse muck. The remainder will be brown material in the form of leaves, straw etc. The micro orgamisms, fungi etc involved in breaking down the dead matter into what us gardners know as compost feed on this green matter. The purpose of the brown material is to provide air spaces, allowing the micro organisms to breathe as they break down the material. If this wasn’t a possible then the green material would turn to a slimey smelly sludge, voice of experience there people!
As the green material will be produced in a fairly steady trickle I will look at getting a mini stockpile of brown material, so that I can create layers of brown and green material. Periodically I will lift the bin off of the pile, mix the material by hand and put it back into the bin which will refesh the air in the bin. As with the current contents of the bin what we dig out next winter will be sieved and sorted.
It’s getting hot in here…
To help the micro organisms to their thing, as well as to kill off most weed seeds, we need to raise the temperature in the compost bin, a potential problem with the small quantities we will be dealing with. One of the huge benefits of having these plastic bins is that they help to increase the heat throughout the pile which speeds up the rate at which rubbish is broken down. A toasty 50 degrees Celsius or hotter is perfect for our heap.
Hopefully that’s a good insight into our compost plans for you,