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I have just acquired a composter, and I have been told that I put kitchen waste in it. Can I also use garden waste, such as leaves and stems from plants, grass cuttings or rotton plumbs etc. Also, do I 'air' it, such as putting it on bricks, or do I put it on solid ground such as paving slabs. Also do I put worms in it?



Thank you for your free service, I will give you an extra thanks when I receive your answer!

24 Aug, 2011


You've asked several questions in one -

1) Yes, it needs air in it, so standing it on bricks is a good idea.
2) You shouldn't need to add worms.
3) you need to build the layers with a mixture of 'brown' and 'green'. I'll explain that in a minute.
4) Never add protein foodstuff - it will attract vermin.
5) 'Turning' the contents occasionally will help it to make good compost quicker.
6) The contents shouldn't be too dry or they'll never make compost, or too wet, or you'll get a nasty slimy 'sludge'.

Green: vegetable & fruit peelings and suchlike. Weed tops - but not the roots, and not the seedheads. Stems & leaves from perennials and annuals when you cut them back. Soft prunings. The occasional thin layer of grass cuttings. Rotten fruit, only the stones won't rot down.

Brown: Old compost from containers, manure if you can get hold of it. A few dead leaves - spread them out. (It's really better to compost them separately) Torn up newspaper and cardboard - not glossy magazines, though. Coffee grounds, tea leaves.

Phew! Good luck - I'm sure I missed some things out.

24 Aug, 2011


I am wondering if Barbara has a 'Green Cone' composter that is for kitchen waste? It will have a perorated base rather like a large pond basket topped by a non-ventilated green cone. The perforated base is completely buried in the ground and the cone sits above it. No air can get into the cone and it works by anaerobic decompostion with the liquids produced seeping into the soil.
They are specifically designed for food waste and similar and I don't think that it is suitable for garden waste except, maybe, rotten fruit.
If I am wrong about the type of composter you have then certainly follow the advice of Spritzhenry.

24 Aug, 2011


If you stand it on the soil the worms will come up into it from the ground. But then you would need to aereate it a bit more.
Barbara, this isn't so much a free service as a community where anybody can ask and anybody can answer - and lots of us find it very addictive! So stay with us. Good luck with your compost.

24 Aug, 2011


I disagree with Spritz on the first point. No you don't need to stand it on bricks, it's better placed on the ground so that worms and other soil organisms can get in and out freely.

This website is my "composting bible" -

You can put food waste in your composter if it's a Green Johanna or a Green Cone which are both specially designed to take food waste and are vermin proof.

If you have a Green Cone, Bulbaholic is quite right, you don't put garden waste in it.

24 Aug, 2011


If it really is a green cone and for kitchen waste then B's statement is correct. Except it is 'perforted' base! Kitchen waste needs to be composted in a way that contains it so that vermin can't get at as it decomposes. Garden waste shouldn't attract vermin as it is all raw stuff and, if you use it, brown compost; we don't.

24 Aug, 2011


Do you mean perforated MG !

24 Aug, 2011


I have been known to talk to plants, but never to composters. I guess that none of mine have been "perorated"! : D

(Sorry! Couldn't resist!)

24 Aug, 2011


Yes I did Jacksonandscar!

25 Aug, 2011

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