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Slow composting

I HAVE two compost bins, both in black plastic, one square and one round. I compost mostly kitchen waste and have, at times, added compost maker, a little dirt from pot plants and some grass clippings. The round bin I have emptied once already and everything had composted nicely. However, the square one has not composted at all - the waste is dry and whole. Can I add this dried material to my round bin or is it best to get rid of it? I do not turn my compost. Is this a mistake?


IT sounds as if the material in your square bin has simply been too dry. For good composting you need a mix of "wet" material which contains a lot of moisture, such as grass clippings and vegetable scraps, and "dry" material like leaves and shredded paper. It sounds as if there was not enough of the former in your bin.

It pays to check your bin every now and again and poke down into the compost to see how it's progressing.

Compost should be moist to the touch. If it's dry, simply stick the hose in and water it. Make sure the cover is on to prevent it drying out in hot sunny weather - it's also useful in keeping out too much winter rain, which can also slow down the composting process.

Yes, you can mix the material from one bin to the other and there's no problem if you don't turn your compost, as long as it's working well.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 172, 2005, Page 24

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005