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Ruined my compost :(

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Fruball
Fruball Posts: 5,739 Forumite
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Can anyone advise me what to do...

I, as a beginner a few years ago, started a compost bin... put in all the usual grass clippings, leaves, kitchen waste and even some chicken poop when we had chickens... BUT my mistake was to put sticks and thinish branch trimmings into it...

The result... lots of lovely compost but full of unrotted sticks :(

I turned the pile today (its been there for 3 years!) and took out some of the bigger ones, mixed it with new stuff but feel like its gonna be 50 years before I can use it due to the massive sticks :(

Is there anything I can do, other than sieving (eughh spiders) or just waiting... and if waiting, how long will it take?

Many thanks

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  • johnnytee
    johnnytee Posts: 315 Forumite
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    Unless you want to wait another three years your only option is to seperate the sticks from the useable stuff. Anything which has a wood content takes an age to break down.

    I wouldn't be too worried about spiders. It's coping with the worms and woodlice that will be the problem :eek: lol
  • amcluesent
    amcluesent Posts: 9,425 Forumite
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    Maybe rent a garden shredder for the weekend and put the branches through that?
  • valk_scot
    valk_scot Posts: 5,290 Forumite
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    If it's three years old just use the stuff and take the sticks out by hand as you go. No big deal! I'm always pulling unrotted bits out of my compost and I make pretty good compost on the whole, I think. I use sticks and woody bits to build a base at the bottom of a new heap when I start it off..it helps to stop the bottom layer compacting solid and good for air flow.
    Val.
  • rhiwfield
    rhiwfield Posts: 2,482 Forumite
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    Like amcluescent I use a shredder on hedge cuttings and sticks, then either use them direct as a mulch or compost them aided by chicken droppings. Other than that do as Valk said.
  • Kay_Peel
    Kay_Peel Posts: 1,672 Forumite
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    You haven't ruined your compost heap at all. Those sticks and twigs have done a very valuable job: they help to lift up and seperate the layers and keep the air flowing around the bin.

    If you are going to use your compost as a mulch or soil improver then you can put the twiggy compost directly onto or into the ground. Once again, the twigs will introduce air into the mixture and stop it getting claggy.

    If you are going to use your compost for potting, then just remove the twigs by hand.

    Don't beat yourself up, give yourself a pat on the back! :D
  • Fruball
    Fruball Posts: 5,739 Forumite
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    Thanks all :)

    I have turned the pile now and mixed in a load of new stuff which is well distributed (along with personal compost accelerator :D) so should rot down quite fast so will wait til spring and then use it all taking out the sticks.

    I do have a garden shredder (bought second hand last week) but am a bit disappointed with it really... I think perhaps its blunt as it struggles and I actually had to strip all the leaves off so they didn't get stuck inside.... Is that normal?
  • Farway
    Farway Posts: 13,351 Forumite
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    Frugal wrote: »
    I do have a garden shredder (bought second hand last week) but am a bit disappointed with it really... I think perhaps its blunt as it struggles and I actually had to strip all the leaves off so they didn't get stuck inside.... Is that normal?

    I have a shredder, and TBH have never found it useful, I suspect it comes down to you get what you pay for
    Eight out of ten owners who expressed a preference said their cats preferred other peoples gardens
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