We compost everything possible in the garden except annual weed roots such as dock, dandelion and bindweed. Also very fibrous stalks from artichokes and the pond reeds which can not be easily chopped or rot quickly.
Around the garden are several “darlek” plastic compost bins in easy reach of the veg beds.
We also have a hot bin which is used for all the kitchen waste (not cooked) since we grow all our vegetables we have all the outer leaves which are already removed when produce is bought from the supermarket.
The bulk of the plant material goes into the 3 bay wooden compost system that we have at the bottom of the garden.
Despite each one being a metre cube, these would fill up in a matter of weeks , especially in the summer, and so we shred all the plant material using a brilliant Viking shredder which not only reduces the volume dramatically but also allows the material to compost more quickly.
Once one bay is full, the compost is turned into the next bay, leaving the first empty to start filling again. When this is full again, the middle bay is turned into the end bay, the first turned into the middle ,once again leaving the first bay empty to start filling again.
As the volume reduces considerably in size, the end bay can be topped up from the middle bay several times. After a year we hope to get a usable compost, although it can be left much longer.
There are loose fitting lids on these bays and they keep the heap moist, removing them when it rains if more moisture is required.
Last week I lifted the lid on the end bay to check moisture levels and got a bit of a shock
Thought it was an adder at first but then realised that it was just a grass snake even though it was about a metre long!
It has gone now but I am not sure which is best, seeing it in the compost bin, or having no idea where it is now!