Compost System and Guidelines

In St Barnabas Community Garden we make our own organic compost, mostly consisting of material provided from the garden. Gardeners should not need to bring in commercial soil additives.

The system is simple and works well if all the rules are followed. It consists of three large bins.

BIN 1BIN 2BIN 3
Where you deposit organic materialClosed off while the decomposition takes place. Do not touch this.Compost ready to use. Help yourself.
The Compost Bins

The bins have boards in front. These are often propped up to separate them and allow air flow. Do not remove the props.

There are a few caveats: we allow only organic material produced by the garden apart from pesticide-free, and weed- free lawn clippings, which heat up the process, and coffee grounds which are added occasionally to deter ants.

Obviously, we allow no meat, fish, nut or dairy products, etc.  A full list of applicable guidelines is below.

BIN 1 

This is where you put your organic waste.  Thick stalks or large plants must be cut into one-inch pieces. If these are not cut down, they will not rot, and only create more work later.

Thick stalks or large plants must be cut into one-inch pieces.

DO NOT ADD:

  • weeds which have roots which will regrow (e.g., dandelions, chives);
  • weeds or plants which have reached the seeding stage (chive flowers, dandelions, pansies)
  • plants, or leaves which are diseased or insect infested
  • nuts, meat or dairy products (with the exception of blood meal and bone meal)
  • chemically treated wood
  • conifer needles
  • pet waste
  • potato plants.

Note – small annual weeds with no seeds are fine.

“Bin Zero”

There is a bucket by Bin 1 into which you may place green waste items that are not suitable for the compost pile: seedy flowers, propagating roots, woody stalks etc.  Please do not put stuff in here simply because you can not be bothered to cut it up. The pile needs your organic waste and remember someone must carry the contents of this bin to a city green bin.

BIN 2

Periodically, the semi rotted Bin 1 is turned into Bin 2. This is then closed off and may not be disturbed.

BIN 3

Eventually, Bin 2 will be turned into Bin 3. This is ready for you to help yourself and add to your garden. Keep in mind this is compost, not planting soil, so would normally be used as a thin mulch layer on top of your plot, or mixed into your existing soil to amend or improve it.

What Can I Do?

Bigger tasks may show up on a workday.  Between workdays, here’s how you can help. 

If you are feeling energetic and have a fork (available in the tool shed) it is a good idea to churn up bin1 contents from time to time to aerate it and speed up the decomposition.

A slight problem is that the mulch in front of the bins sometimes gets into the bins. If you see this happening, please remove the pieces of mulch. They will not rot. Also be careful when dealing with the compost that you do not inadvertently push bits of mulch onto the pile.

OUR SYSTEM WORKS WELL AND HAS BEEN ADMIRED BY OTHER GARDENS IN THE LOCALITY. PLEASE DO YOUR BEST TO KEEP IT THAT WAY. THANK YOU.

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