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Digital Subscriptions > Kitchen Garden Magazine > December 2018 > SOLAR ASSISTED COMPOSTING


For Andrew Davenport his compost bins are the ‘heart and hub’ of his garden. Here he recounts what went into their construction and assesses how they have performed


After many years of good service, my range of timber compost bins finally gave up and rotted away. Rather than regard this as a setback, I seized the opportunity to construct a replacement set of bins which would allow me to design and build-in several ideas and features that I had been contemplating for some time.

The aim of this article is to outline these features and concepts with a very brief description of how they were achieved, rather than a detailed step by step sequence. Since it is now more than three years since these ‘new’ bins were constructed, I will also report on how they were used and how they have performed.


In our garden, compostable material comes from two main sources – firstly, from the main part of the garden with its ornamental borders, veg plot and lawn which produces a considerable amount of garden waste and, secondly, from the chicken run which generates other valuable waste materials including chicken manure and bedding. My idea was to situate the new bins between these two areas to minimise the distance of transporting waste materials so that they became an integral part of the garden and its processes.The bins would literally become the ‘heart and hub’ of the garden.That is, I believe, how important they are to the vitality and health of the soil and the garden. And so it was decided that the bins would need to be double fronted with removable slats on both fronts to accommodate the materials from the two areas.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

So another year is over on the veg plot – I hope you’ve had a successful and rewarding one. As ever it brought its challenges – the late spring and hot summer certainly made things interesting. My polytunnel crops were the best ever (although one arm is now longer than the other from carrying watering cans) and many of you have told me you’ve had some wonderful soft and tree fruit. That, however, is in the past and we need to prepare for the fun and challenges ahead. With that in mind we have some great features for you this month. Fruit expert David Patch offers his advice on planning a fruit garden, while Ben Vanheems encourages you to leave the spade in the shed and to join the ranks of converts to no-dig gardening. As usual we have features on growing a diverse range of crops and get out and about to meet readers from the North East to the South West. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of their wonderful plots as much as I did.