By Angie, Feb 18 2013 05:04PM
I have tried various forms of composting, and these are the ones I recommend and why:
Wooden Composting Bins
I have four beehive style bins in my home garden and three bays in my pallet composter at the allotment. I mainly use the home bins for composting the chicken bedding and garden waste. I generally put most of the compost into trugs and take it up the allotment - usually to top off my lasagne beds. I occasionally use it to mulch the ornamental beds in the garden.
The pallet composters at the allotment are used for disposal of most of the waste from the plots.
I am also intending to start composting beds this year - effectively, digging a trench in an empty bed and using this to put non-weed waste into the trench, then, once filled, covering with the original soil and planting over the top. I am hoping this will save a lot of work because I will avoid having to turn the compost and also cart it around the plots. I will report on progress.
I burn no green matter from my plots. I prefer to drown weed plants or let them dry out before composting. This applies to couch which is a major problem for many of the plotholders at our site. See the Liquid feed section below.
I try to limit each layer to about two inches, but it isn't an exact science and, if you turn the mix, you can add a little green or dry matter, or water it to keep it nicely balanced.
I occasionally sieve my mix, but usually just add it still lumpy to the top of my heavy clay soil, leaving it to rot a little more before planting.
I keep a wormery in my garden. It is a useful composter for cooked matter that the chickens can't eat. I use the spent casts for seed compost and the resulting liquid is drawn off, stored in 4 pint milk containers and diluted 1:10 to feed the garden plants. I occasionally take a container up the allotment if I am low on nettle/comfrey or weed tea.
I produce nettle, comfrey and weed tea. I save any lidded buckets I can and use these to fill with nettle cuttings, comfrey cuttings or perennial weeds and then I top with water, weighing the greenery down with a brick to keep it submerged. In about two weeks, the evil smelling mix will be ready to use. I dilute it 1:10 with water and use as a foliar feed for the whole allotment.
Although there is some comfrey growing around the fringes of the site, I have planted up a comfrey bed specially for harvesting on plot 37.
Note: it is worth waiting until the end of the day to feed with these liquid feeds - they are really strong smelling!!! Once you have drained off the liquid, tip the remaining gloop into the compost heap.
Obviously a bit more than just composting, but worthy of a mention.
I do feed my chickens uncooked leftovers from the kitchen (please note, this is no longer recommended by DEFRA but we don't eat our chickens - only the eggs they produce) and I also feed them the more "specky" greens from the allotment. They bed on shredded paper and the bedding rots down inthe compost heap within three months and is used either to top dress the ornamental beds in the garden, or top the lasagne beds as it is pretty much weed free.