14. Apr, 2022

Twigs as a compost bin base layer

When filling a compost bin, which is going to depend on passive aeration it is  recommended that the base layer consists of browns preferably  coarse materials such as sticks, twigs, bark  so as to  allow air to filter into the centre of the heap. This also assists in  drainage.  Others, including me, use vegetable stalks e.g. brassica (crushed), Jerusalem artichoke or some flower stalks, or crumpled cardboard  which will decompose more quickly than wood.

I have avoided twigs and sticks in the bottom of plastic bins, where the compost will be harvested through a hatch, as the wood makes it more difficult to extract the finished compost but have used them in larger  wooden bins where the compost is not to be turned.

This month we had a load of twigs, raspberry canes, and pruning’s for vines so I decided to use them , as they were submitted (up to 12 inches in length) as a base layer in a bin was to be turned regularly knowing that the initial turning would distribute the twigs throughout the bin. The photo shows the first turn with many of the twigs in the upper layers.

The  twigs certainly made it heavier work  turning the compost using a fork and to break up any lumps that were forming but may aid air circulation within the bin.