Making compost from garden and other wastes, the principles and some results

I explain green and brown ingredients, using coffee and other wastes including roots of perennial weeds and blighted leaves. What size pieces to add, what temperatures you need and may expect. How long to leave heaps before turning or using, I show you compost in different stages, of varied age and moisture content. For more detail of the turning process see my four minute time lapse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPcYXGqt9CQ. For spreading compost see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoUANPgCHRA, and for my explanation of when to spread compost and how much to use see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJhGIrqKs1k. Filmed and edited in February 2017 by Edward Dowding https://edowding.net
More gardening information at http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk
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20 thoughts on “Making compost from garden and other wastes, the principles and some results”

  1. Thank you so much for this video. There is no "free stuff" where I live and no autumn leaves (just conifers here), no newspaper no coffee grounds …. etc. so I'm rather desperate for compostables.

    I'm so glad to have the go-ahead for tomato plant composting and citrus peal … I've been, guiltily (and worriedly), using them anyway … I just can't afford to take all that out of the ground and NOT put it back in.

    I use alder (bushes) to make plant stakes; do you think that I could use the whole end leaflet with its soft twigging in the compost … it's just too tough to separate the leaves out … I've tried it. Will the twiglets compost? or can I mulch and pot with the finished …post, twiglets and all?

    Also, I've been literally harvesting grey goldenrod for composting; I chop off the roots so they won't regrow. Necessary? Or even detrimental to do so?

    Canadian Burnet? I guess you have burnet in Britain. But mine is native and spreads by rhizome … VIGOUROUSLY. I've been throwing it out. What if I keep the plant above the "knot" (which begins the dangerous part?) to compost that?

    My compost, done in two (now three ) small vinyl? street-side garbage bins, doesn't get the least bit hot. I'm a beginner gardener. Last year was my first year and I was so shocked to open those bins and find compost! I hadn't had time to check on them through the summer. It was every bit as beautiful as any I'd seen on YouTube. I almost cried when I opened those lids. I couldn't believe my eyes.

    I'm VERY worried (almost CERTAIN) that it was just beginner's luck. This year, I put the head-and-tail of a large cod in one bin and a bit of seaweed in the others (It's not at all like any other seaweed on YouTube.) Probably poison seaweed! I'd like to use more "fish bits".

    The home-made compost is so important to me. The composted sheep manure of unrecognizable ever-changing branding sent to (dumped on?) my out-of-the-way small town scares me to half to death. This year my tomato plants (just toddlers) all turned purple as soon as transplanted into their final containers with this year's newly (and tardily) arrived latest-unknown brand.

    Lovely video. Many rare tips (rare = PRECIOUS and NOT FOUND ELSEWHERE). I'm so grateful for the time and thought and care you put into making this for us. I guess you've been working with plants for a good bit.. I guess they've been whisp'ring sweetly and gently and often in their sunny …rainy …windy …lazy long slow dreams. I guess you've been listening pretty closely. I guess that they've taught you a lot.

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  2. I too love your videos. A question I have is regarding using newspaper as a brown material in the compost bin. Our newspaper has a lot of colored ink. It's more color than black and white. Can I still use it? Also, similarly, the flyers that come in the newspaper have a shiney appearance to some and are mostly all colored ink. Can I use these in the compost heap as well? I look forward to your input.

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  3. I wish my composting worked better. I fill it with garden waste and a few kitchen scraps. It means I have mainly woody cuttings from pruning overgrown bushes and then months of nothing but grass clippings. Autumn comes and I get leaves but by then the grass clippings are straw and there's nothing nitrogen rich to heat up the leaves. It just ends up a box full of different layers of dried material and wood.

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  4. you make it look easy. I have been trying to compost for many years now and have never gotten it right. I just end up with a pile of non decomposed grass clippings, kitchen waste, and shredded newspaper even after many months. i put it on the garden anyway.

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  5. Nice greenhouse. Who makes it? I also wonder how much potash one could add. I read something like 120 grams for 120 liters, if my memory serves.

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  6. I put anything that will rot in my compost bin, I never turn compost because you loose nutrients and mass.
    I always monitor the water content to keep the smell down and reduce the risk of fire!

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  7. Hey Charles,

    I use my lawnmower to chop woody stuff and leaves up for the compost bin. It works really well to get the pieces cut to an easier size to compost and fork.

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  8. Thank you Charles for showing and explaining in really clear terms how to make compost – Its something I have never really mastered, but after watching this video I think it will become a lot easier!-regards-Woody

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  9. Hi Charles, great video very informative. quick question, I live in Canada so our Summers are short and our Winters long and cold. our compost freezes when heaped, how do I keep it composting through freezing temperatures? thanks for taking the time to pass you knowledge onto is!!

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  10. i proud of the fact that i have never put out my brown bin Charles, for me composting is the most Satisfying part of gardening,I saw you on Gardening World and it seems even the great Monty Don is coming round to your no dig method, good luck and thank you . Frank

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  11. I'll definitely go and get that book then. keep up the great work. You have inspired a whole generation of gardeners and growers.

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