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Turning brambles into compost?

Rhondda Cynon Taff, United Kingdom

Having recently retired am trying to restore my garden to its former glory. My poblem is brambles four foot high. Any suggestions? I have bought a shredder and if possible would like to turn them into compost. Any advice on making compost and how to go about it.



Hallo Chippy - what kind of bin/s have you got? That is the first question. You need to build your compost in layers of vegetation, leaves, kitchen waste, shredded paper and cardboard, some manure if you can get hold of it, and keep it damp - a dry heap will not rot down, alternatively, a very wet one will not heat up enough. The heap will need turning every so often, this will speed things up. It must be covered - an old piece of carpet is fine if your bin is lidless! You can add your brambles to the layers gradually if they have been shredded quite finely, no probs. Don't add any left over meat etc - it attracts vermin! It will take several months or even up to a year to get compost out, but it will sure be worth it! Good luck.

11 Jan, 2008


I watched an Alan Titchmarsh programme in which he assured us that composting was easy; just provide the right conditions and nothing can go wrong.

The thing is, anything's easy if you're experienced, and my direct experience is that I thought I'd followed all the rules, and after a year, my pile of garden cuttings and kitchen waste looked like a pile of non-rotting garden cuttings with a swarm of fruit flies around it.

Everything composts given enough time -- we sold our house before I could see what happened next to that particular heap, but nature almost guarantees it would have rotted down if I'd waited another year or two, or five...

Slow 'cold' composting therefore requires pretty much no attention, and is great if you have room for years' worth of compost in progress.

The difficult thing is 'hot' composting. There are lots of variables -- the density of the contents, their chemical makeup, wetness, dryness, the ambient temperature, which particular bacteria, fungi and animals happen upon your heap first, when to turn, when to leave. Get it wrong and your heap will rot the slow way. While of course you could approach this as a science, I think most successful gardeners treat it as an art. They get a 'feel' for the right combination of these variables, and it's a feel that's gained through experience and in some cases mentorship.

I wish you the best of luck in your composting -- it's worthy and worthwhile. Don't be too surprised if your first attempts fail -- you'll learn from these experiences. Success requires care, regular attention, and a bit of luck. I don't think composting evangelists do their cause any favours by making it sound easier than it is.

Alternatively, if you just want to get rid of the brambles, you should be able to take them to a refuse centre, where they'll end up as compost. Or, depending on your aesthetic preferences, the output of your shredder could be used as a dry mulch.

13 Jan, 2008


I understand what UKslim is saying, and can agree - but I am not Alan Titchmarsh, I'm only an amateur, learning as I go. We made the mistake of putting too many leaves in at once, and ended up with wet soggy lumps in the otherwise good result. I am sorry if my first message made creating compost sound easy, it's not. But I stand by what I said - it's worth persevering for the end product. I can only tell you what has worked in my garden and hope that it helps you.

13 Jan, 2008


Don't worry Spritzhenry, you gave good advice. I wasn't directly responding to your reply -- I was just riffing on composting in general and the general tone of what Chippy will find if he/she looks in the usual places.

I imagine that once you succeed at composting, the effort will seem justified.

14 Jan, 2008


one little tip though if you do use cutt up brambles - do not include the roots as it dose'nt matter how fine you cut them they can still grow!

15 Jan, 2008

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