Turning over the compost

On Tuesday Mark transferred our compost from the wooden bin to the large plastic bin. We had almost filled up the wooden bin, and the mixture was getting a little slimy. This is probably normal at the end of the winter. The compost simply wasn’t breaking down during the really cold weather in February.

We were also a little suspicious that our carefully tended compost was providing a lovely warm nest – or perhaps overnight accommodation – for a small rodent. Sometimes vegetable peelings were pushed up against the sides of the bin, and there seemed to be small indentations. When we turned the compost, there did seem to be a run, dug underneath the wooden bin, but otherwise, no other evidence of inhabitation.  We’ll be lining the wooden compost bin with fine mesh chicken wire before we start using it again.

The new plastic bin has an integrated base, and we’ve placed it on a brick base to stop any burrowing underneath it. We started the new bin off with some woody prunings, and mixed in some rotted straw-based manure and some of our leaf mould from the autumn. Mark has also added a few layers of shredded cardboard, and we’ve sprinkled some Garotta on the fresh top layer.

The compost – which we started in the autumn – looks good: brown already, though still a bit clumpy rather than crumbly as they say it ought to be. Now we’ve mixed it, and the days are getting warmer, it should start breaking down quickly and be fully ready for working into the raised beds and the shady triangle in the forthcoming autumn.

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