What materials can be composted?
For the best results from your compost bin you need to add in layers of equal amounts of soft green and brown material. During the composting process turn the contents of the bin occasionally to mix and aerate the decomposing material. Adding a compost accelerator (see link below) will help the material decay quicker. Keep the material dry but not over wet. The compost is ready for use when it is black and crumbly.
Soft green material includes raw vegetable peelings, soft prunings, grass clippings, tea leaves, coffee grounds, crushed egg shells and young annual weeds that are not producing seeds.
Compostable brown material includes tree and hedge prunings, egg boxes, thin cardboard packaging, old bedding plants, straw or hay bedding from rabbits and guinea pigs and leaves in small quantities. To speed up the breakdown woody prunings should be chopped or shredded into small pieces.
Do not add diseased plants, cat litter or dog faeces as they can carry diseases. Cooked food and meat can attract rats to the compost bin.
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How can I prevent the compost becoming wet and smelly?
If the compost material is very wet and smelly there is too much soft green material. Thin cardboard or newspaper should be added to help dry it out, along with more woody material such as hedge prunings, old bedding plants or straw.
Why is the material in my compost bin very dry and not breaking down?
Dry material that is not breaking down in the compost bin is is an indication that there may be insufficient soft green waste such as vegetable peelings and grass mowings. Mix the green waste in well with the other material in the bin, watering the mixture as necessary.
Where should I position my compost bin?
A compost bin should be placed somewhere that is easily accessible, and in full sun or semi-shade as this will aid the heating up process of the composting material. Compost bins that do not have a base should be placed directly on to the soil. This will allow access for worms and other soil organisms that aid the breakdown of the material being composted.
It is beneficial to use a compost accelerator in all compost bins whether they have a base or not. This supplies naturally occurring organisms to the material helping to speed up the composting process.