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Composting on concrete

When you start with your new compost bin we advise that you site your bin on a patch of soil or grass. The reason for this is that the breakdown of compost happens with the assistance of creatures, fungi and bacteria that live in the soil. Siting your compost bin on an area of hard standing would make it harder for them to enter your compost bin. The other disadvantage of composting directly onto a solid surface is that any liquid generated from the compost will not be able to soak into the soil to fertilise it. However having said all that composting on concrete is perfectly possible as one gardener points out in her letter below:

Dear Holly

Many people in my area don't have gardens, as it's high density Victorian terraced housing in large areas of Lancaster. But that doesn't mean we don't want to compost! I presume the biggest problem with siting onto concrete is loss of insulation and that nutrients are lost as the fluid comes out of the composting matter?

Apart from that, it seems to work okay - I started mine off with a fairly substantial bed of crumpled newspaper to try to catch the juices, and although there is a flow of fluid out from the base, the loss of which is a bit frustrating, it all seems to be rotting down quite happily.

If you have no alternative then here are a few tips to help ensure that you compost successfully on concrete.

  • Put a thick wodge of newspaper or cardboard under your compost bin, this will encourage worms and other creatures in to your compost.
  • Start off your heap with a couple of shovel-fulls of partially rotted manure to encourage colonisation of the bin by the decomposing creatures. You can add more manure as you fill the compost bin.
  • Be prepared to wait longer for your compost to break down than normal, it could take up to 2 years.

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