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Author Topic: Garden Compost  (Read 5714 times)

David Shaw

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Garden Compost
« on: January 27, 2007, 05:51:33 PM »
I never thought that I would ask this - but what am I going to do with my garden compost.

All my gardening life I have filled compost bins with weeds etc and used the compost in the veggie garden. Now, of course, those damned alpines and bulbs have encroached everywhere and I am just left with a wee plot for some peas and beans and lettuce!
The garden is closely planted so there is no room to dig it in and I don't want to use it as a surface mulch because of weed seeds ( I did this once - mulch; rain; instant greenery). I have tried offering it to neighbours but there is only one other garden in our village that still grows vegetables, the rest aren't interested.

Could I use it as a direct replacement for loam when re-potting bulbs or is it likely to have too much nitrogen? I don't mind a few weed seedlings on the top of pots as they are easily removed.

Any other ideas?
David Shaw, Forres, Moray, Scotland

tonyg

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Re: Garden Compost
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2007, 08:25:15 PM »
I know what you mean about the weeds David - Are we just not composting the stuff properly?
I used the last batch as a soil improver in the lower layers of my latest raised bed.  Our natural soil is light and sandy so it does no harm to beef it up a bit.  I dug the compost in with the natural before adding a decent layer of 'alpine' compost (about 8 inches thick) on top.  The theory is that the moisture retentive, nutrient rich level will be reached by deep searching roots.  No exact science here but I'll be posting pictures of the plants this year so you can judge the results for yourself!

KentGardener

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Re: Garden Compost
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 02:34:01 AM »
Hi David

are there any allotments near you?  The council dump all sorts of stuff at the gates of my friends allotment (leaves, woodchips, horse poo etc).  It gets carted away and used by all the allotment holders.

I occasionaly dump bags of sifted 'old pot soil' by the gates of my local allotment.  I am sure you could find a good home for your compost if you can't find a use for it in your garden this year.

John
« Last Edit: January 28, 2007, 02:43:46 AM by KentGardener »
John

John passed away in 2017 - his posts remain here in tribute to his friendship and contribution to the forum.

David Shaw

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Re: Garden Compost
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2007, 09:22:55 AM »
Having been a 'Good Lifer' in the 70's I had lot of friends who were composters and we all had weedy compost most of the time. We just dug it in deeply. If I were making a new bed as Tony describes I would certainly bury it down below and I am sure that Ian will be feeding the hole that the bamboo came out of with compost. Our project at the moment is a crevice bed but I daren't use garden compost in that.
Allotments, John, I would love one but we don't do them up here. Edinburgh has but I don't even think there are any in Aberdeen. We are expected to use our gardens for veggies.

There are indeed still quite a few allotments in Aberdeen and an Allotment Society that runs a show etc. M
« Last Edit: January 28, 2007, 10:20:38 AM by Maggi Young »
David Shaw, Forres, Moray, Scotland

jomowi

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Re: Garden Compost
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2007, 05:18:44 PM »
I make a lot of compost which I turn every year and use after 3 years.  I do not shred it before putting onto the heap although that would help. It is difficult to get a shredder which would cope with the volume of material, (not easy to get large amoounts through a letter box sized slot).  During making I keep the brick bins I use (about 2 cubic metres content covered to ensure they do not get too wet.  Before use I put it through a 20 mm seive abd use the resultant material as a top dressing.  It looks like peat, is ideal and over the years has made the soil a lovely woodland type soil.  Weeds have never been a serious problem and are readily removed from the friable soil I now have.  Whatever you do do not throw your compost out it is a valuable resource.

I have found it less use for potting composts, the plants can get nitrogen starved and can lrotting off even if the compost is sterilised in the microwave as it rapidly reaquires the necessary fungi.

Hope this helps

Brian WIlson

Aberdeen.
Linlithgow, W. Lothian in Central Scotland

Ian Y

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Re: Garden Compost
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2007, 07:07:09 PM »
David I would be very cautious about using it as a loam replacement for bulb repotting.
I do not think it is the nitrogen that would be the main problem but the very organic, vegetable form of the compost makes wet rot and such problems much more likely in your bulbs.
I do use our garden compost a lot when digging and replanting bulb beds in the open garden but there it is mostly woodsy types of bulbs like trillium, lilium, erythronium etc, that I am planting. I also mix it in well with our sandy soil. By the way Corydalis solida types love lots of compost mixed into the soil.
It is a shame not to use it, what about a new raised bed.
Ian Young, Aberdeen North East Scotland   - 
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
https://www.srgc.org.uk/logs/index.php?log=bulb

jomowi

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Re: Garden Compost
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2015, 08:01:43 PM »
Since I downsized to a postage stamp garden, I can no longer make garden compost on a grand scale.  I had been given to believe that you could not make successful compost in one of the plastic bins sold for the purpose.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the compost I am turning out from the one I interited.  Firstly I had to harvest the contents from the previous owners. A treasure trove was to be found:- a potato peeler, clothes pegs, plastic sheet, synthetic corks and garden string, small toys to name but a few. Oh, and tea bag cases - no they donít rot despite what you are told to the contrary and I spent hours getting rid of them from the garden itself.  Egg shells were a pain, - I can add lime if I want a calcareous compost, which I donít and the large shell pieces are unsightly.  Of the organic contents which never rot - at least in the time scale when the rest of the contents are usable are avocado stones and skins. 

For the first 2 years, I was adding grass cuttings, well mixed with other material.  to avoid a claggy mass.  I no longer have a lawn, so that source of material has disappeared.  A request for some compost worms from the Club members who bought my Aberdeen house was eventually taken seriously, and they duely arrived.  I saw nothing of the worms for nearly a year, and then bingo they were there in their masses and have become great escape artists, collecting in the external channel of the lid.

Today I decided to make a big effort to get compost from further back than previously, before the upper contents caved in.  As expected I came across more of the bamboo suckers which have invaded the bin.  I cannot dig them out as they root up through narrow gaps in the paving underneath the bin.  The bush itself was got rid of  nearly 3 years ago, and I am gradually winning with the open garden suckers.  How they survive without light in the bin I donít know.  I opened it last summer to find a new green cane trying to get out through the top.

In the pic the usable compost is in the bucket on the right, the left bucket contains compost which needs a little longer.  This includes the less successful dried matter from around the inside edges of the bin.  This I am re-cycling into a smaller bin just visible on the right behind the conifer.  All told itís good stuff, the only problem is I canít get enough of it!

Linlithgow, W. Lothian in Central Scotland

 


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