How To: Feed your Compost Bin

Yes….I am officially an old person. This is a ‘me and my garden’ blog post…. I know…I moved house and have seemed to age by 50 years in a week.

I have been after a garden of my own for most of my life. My favourite childhood memories are of spending time in my paternal grandfather’s garden, surrounded by flowers, insects and masses of home-grown vegetables. The memories invoke lots of happy thoughts and the simple pleasures of being able to eat something you pulled from the ground yourself.

So imagine my actual joy when we started hacking and slashing at the jungle that is our garden this weekend, only to find that it is secretly MASSIVE due to all the weeds that have strangled it. After 3 hours, we had gained at least another 10 ft in width post brambles and bamboo hackage.

Among all the weed whacking, we marked out my vegetable plot in the back garden…and, no word of a lie… it is looking a little like a small allotment…so I am going to need some fertiliser. Being all thrifty and stuff, I refuse to buy compost when I don’t have to, so I am going to start ‘full on’ composting in the hope that this time next year I shall never have to spend out on ‘shop’ compost again.

I managed to rehouse the massive compost bin that lived in the far corner, left by the previous owner. I have brought it closer to the house (meaning I do not have to do the wet spider walk to empty the kitchen compost bucket) and housed it near our other bins, making us more likely to pop things in there rather than the bin.

So…want to know all the weird and wonderful things that you can pop in your compost bin alongside your egg shells, veggie peelings, coffee grounds and tea bags?

Vacuum Contents – as long as you haven’t been hoovering up something silly, you can empty your regular hoover contents straight into your compost. This has made P very happy as he gets snotty from dust and the idea of actually popping it in the outside bin has appeased his little sniffley nose.

Paper – If like me you make lists upon lists upon lists, then you should have a fair bit of paper waste about your nest. Scrunch it up and pop it in your compost bin, the air caught inside will help it break everything else down. Yes, I know you could put it in your recycling bin, but hey…FREE COMPOST. Also instead of shredding all your important docs, scrunch them up and pop them in here too…and then the gits really can’t pinch your identity!
Even glossy paper will compost…. but make sure you are still whacking in enough ‘wet’ stuff (like veggies peelings and whatnot) to help break it down.

Inners of Loo/Kitchen Rolls – Whack them in as they are! You don’t even need to tear them up. Fab.

Wee – Now I am not suggesting you go and squat over your compost bin. But got a little one who is toilet training? Pour in their whizz after they have been on the potty!

Hair – You really should clean your hairbrush at least once a week and then feel free to chuck clumps of your mop straight in the compost bin. Hooked all of the family’s hair out of the drain? That can go in there too! (What a small joy I get from knowing that this disgusting job is helping my garden…. bleurgh)

Kitchen Towel, Tissues, Paper Napkins – Kitchen paper is really not the best thing for the eco warriors among us, but I didn’t ruddy realise you can compost the stuff! I shall no longer feel bad about using it for my spills, sneezes and mopping up food off my chin.

Cotton WoolI blogged about what I use my used cotton pads for…and now I find out you can compost them after? RESULT!

Cotton Towels – Oh yes… got a manky old towel that needs to get gone? Snip it into little bits and pop it in your compost bin with some ‘wet’ stuff.

Beer/Wine – Had a party? Got a house full of half drunk beer/cider cans due to forgetful friends? Pour them all straight in to your compost bin. Lots of lovely breaking down reactions will happen!

Masking Tape – Just scrunch up and chuck in…easy as pie!

For lots more information on what you can and can’t compost, pop over to Recycle Now, who have lots of handy hints about recycling and composting.

I’m off to go and pluck a load of ivy leaves off our gate and put them in my compost bin…sigh….simple pleasures eh…

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6 responses to “How To: Feed your Compost Bin

  1. I didn’t know about masking tape! Our compost bins were already well dug into a seemingly sensible place, but are right at the end of the garden so I know the “wet spider walk” all too well. I now try to make Tom do it by busying myself with a less spidery chore before asking :p xxx

    • We have moved it to right beside our garden gate in a little corner it was perfect for (once I dug out the bamboo and massive grass plant that were there before!). I am dying to get back out there but it is far too dark by the time I get home and we don’t have an exterior light yet!

  2. I put tea bags and egg shells in mine, but they don’t seem to break down very well so I now have a garden covered in…tea bags and egg shells!

  3. Wow, youve got a green house as well (IM SOOOOOO jealous). Apparently you can put jeans and other cotton fabric in as well.
    And have you tried making leaf mould? Its not nutricious like compost but is a great mulch. Basically you get a whole heap of leaves, chuck them in a bin bag, water them well, punch some holes in the bin bag (so the water drains out), and leave it somewhere for 6 – 12 months. Thats it!!!! Im raising the local parks this weekend. :o)

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