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Indigenous and Exotic Aloes, Trees and Plants

Ideally site your compost bin in a reasonably sunny spot on bare soil.

The reason you should site your bin on soil is that it makes it very easy for beneficial microbes and insects to gain access to the rotting material. It also allows for better aeration and drainage, both important to successful composting.

On wire mesh
If you're worried about vermin becoming a problem, adding a wire mesh base to your bin when you set it up can help avoid problems later. To do this you need to dig a shallow hole (approximately 1 inch deep) that is equal to the diameter of your bin. Cut a piece of wire mesh to slightly larger diameter than the base of your bin and place it over the hole. Place your bin on top of both.

On paving
If it is possible to remove the paving below the compost bin, then this is the best solution for paved or courtyard gardens but, if not, there are a few things you need to bear in mind.

Some liquid might seep out of the bottom of the bin and stain paving both underneath the bin and sometimes around it. If this is likely to be a problem, then you should consider building a small raised bed filled with soil to put your compost bin on.

Liquid should be contained within the soil in the raised bed and you can always plant up around the bin to make it a feature. If you are putting your bin onto old paving and staining is not an issue, you will need to introduce the soil-dwelling organisms manually.

You can do this by adding a shovelful or two of soil to the bottom of the bin or, better still, get some home compost from a nice mature bin. It may take a little longer for your bin to get started but it will soon be full of life.

On decking
It is best not to put a compost bin directly onto a deck as the liquid that sometimes seep out of the bin will stain it. The only real solution here is to build a raised bed directly on top of the deck.

You can use deckboards to build your raised bed so that it compliments the deck. Seal the deckboards under the bed with decking seal, just to be on the safe side, then line the bottom of the raised bed with plastic to protect the deckboards underneath and cut some drainage holes though the plastic where there are spaces in between the deckboards.

Fill the bed full of soil or peat-free compost and this will capture any liquid that seeps out. Anything you plant in the bed around the bin will be nice and healthy because it will be getting a good liquid feed.

On gravel
You can easily put your bin onto gravel, whether it be in a gravel garden or on a gravel driveway or path. If you have laid a membrane beneath the gravel, you will need to cut a hole or slits in the membrane so that the soil-dwelling organisms can get through.

If you are concerned about compost messing up your gravel when you empty the bin, you will need to lay out a plastic sheet to keep the gravel clean when it is time to empty the bin.

On concrete
If you must place your bin on concrete, remember to add a thin layer of soil to get it started. This will help attract worms and other beneficial organisms.

Screening your compost bin
If space is limited and you don't have an out of the way corner in which to put your bin, you can screen it from view by using live plants, a trellis, bamboo or willow.


Aloe acutissima, Aloe africana, Aloe andogonensis, Aloe arborescens, Aloe aristata, Aloe barbarae, Aloe boyleii, Aloe brevifolia, Aloe camperii, Aloe chaubaudii, Aloe ciliaris, Aloe cooperii, Aloe congolensis, Aloe daweii, Aloe dichotoma, Aloe ellenbeckii, Aloe ferox, Aloe fosterii, Aloe gerstneri, Aloe globuligemma, Aloe gracilis, Aloe grandidentata, Aloe greatheadii, Aloe hildebrandtii, Aloe humilis, Aloe longibracteata, Aloe maculata, Aloe marlothii, Aloe milotii, Aloe mudenensis , Aloe musapana x wildii, Aloe nyeriensis, Aloe petricola, Aloe pluridens, Aloe pretoriensis, Aloe prinslooi, Aloe pruinosa, Aloe reitzii, Aloe rupestris, Aloe schelpei, Aloe sinkantata x andoginensis, Aloe speciosa, Aloe spicata, Aloe striata, Aloe striatulata, Aloe succotrina, Aloe suprafoliata, Aloe teniour, Aloe thompsonii, Aloe umfolosiensis, Aloe vanbaleni, Aloe vera, Aloe vryheidensis

Acacia caffra, Acacia karoo, Acacia nigrescens, Acacia robusta, Acacia sieberiana, Acacia xanthophloea, Apodytes dimidiata, Bauhinia galpinii, Bauhinia tomentosa, Berchemia zeyheri, Bolusanthus speciosus, Buddleja saligna, Buddleja salvifolia, Carissa bispinosa, Carissa macrocarpa, Cassinopsis illicifolia, Celtis africanum, Calodendroum capense, Calpurnia aurea, Combretum erythrophyllum, Combretum kraussi, Cussonia natalensis, Cussonia spicata, Dais continifolia, Diospyros lycoides, Dodonaea angustifolia, Dombeya rotundifolia, Dovyalis caffra, Ehretia rigida, Ekebergia capensis, Erythrina lysistemon, Euphorbia ingens, Ficus ingens, Ficus natalensis, Grewia occidentalis, Halleria lucida, Harpephyllum caffrum, Heteropyxis natalensis, Ilex mitis, Jasminium multipartitum, Kiggelaria africana, Milletia grandis, Nuxia floribunda, Olea africana, Pappea capensis, Peltophorum africanum, Podocarpus henkelii, Podocarpus falcatus, Portulacaria afra, Ptaeroxylon obliquum, Rapanea melanophloeos, Rhamnus prinoides, Rhus chirindensis, Rhus lancea, Rhus pendulina, Rhus pyroides, Rothmania capensis, Rothmania globosa, Schotia afra, Schotia brachypatela, Sclerocarya birrea, Spirostachys africana, Syzygium cordatum, Tarchonanthus camphoratus, Trichilia dregenea, Trichilia emetica, Vangueria infausta, Vepris lanceolata, Zanthoxylum capense, Ziziphus mucronata

Caesalpinia ferrea, Cupressus Gold Crest, Cupressocyparis leylandii, Liquidamber, Plantanus x Acerifolia, Populus simoni

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