should you compost organic waste from the home?
large proportion of garden waste and food scraps collected by local
authorities in the UK end up being disposed of in landfill. If you
compost you could be helping to reduce the amount of waste buried.
Allowing it to break down in a composter is more beneficial to the
environment. Landfill can produce far more greenhouse gas when breaking
down organic matter than a home composter and you also end up with a
usable material to put back in your garden.
choose the Green Johanna?
Green Johanna is a superior composter designed so that the contents are
well ventilated, given free drainage and kept in a protected
environment during the break down process. Its special conical shape
helps prevent waste sticking to the inside leaving space for the air to
move around. As long as you follow the simple instructions, you should
find the Green Johanna easy to use.
is the Green Johanna made of?
is made of a durable plastic that resists attack from the elements
including extremes of temperature and is expected to last for around 10
years or more. It comes with a 5 year warranty. Although each unit is
checked before despatch, please contact us if you find there is a fault
or parts are missing upon delivery and we will be pleased to assist you.
do you start?
good air circulation is important to ensure efficient operation of your
Green Johanna you will need to place inside at the base, branches and
twigs in a layer that should be about 20 centimetres (8 inches) deep.
After that you add your garden and kitchen waste.
I place the Green Johanna in direct sunlight?
as the contents should not be allowed to get too hot since this can
kill off the beneficial microbes breaking down the contents.
much waste can it take?
is designed for a household with up to five people together with the
compostable waste produced from an average garden. However since this
is extremely variable, if you believe you are filling it too quickly it
would be recommended to have a second Green Johanna. Remember a garden
produces less waste in winter. Some of the material in summer can be
kept to layer in with food waste during winter.
are the dimensions of the Green Johanna?
is 90cm (36 inches) across at the base, the lid is 52cm (21 inches)
wide and its overall height is 95cm (38 inches). It weighs 10 kilos.
are there holes in the base?
allows naturally occurring insects and worms to gain access to aid the
breakdown process. It also lets excess moisture out into the ground
should you locate a Green Johanna?
to have the Green Johanna as close to the kitchen as possible as you
may want to put food waste in up to 4 times a week. The composter
should stand on soil or grass, so that the worms can get in through the
holes in the base. A good place is among trees, which give shade. They
will also offer a certain amount of protection from the cold in winter.
are the contents in the composter warm during the process?
the micro-organisms are actively breaking down waste, energy is
released. How warm the compost gets depends on what you have put in
together with levels of oxygen and moisture. The micro-organisms work
at between 2 and 75 degrees. Different micro-organisms work at
temperatures. The optimum working temperature in the compost bin will
be around 45-65 degrees.
I have to add any chemicals to get started?
No absolutely not!
In fact chemicals may upset the natural balance of the system so are
I put kitchen waste directly in the compost without the branches and
No, as a
good flow of air at the base is essential for efficient operation of
the Green Johanna.
I mix garden waste and kitchen waste?
It is recommended that you put one part garden waste and two parts
kitchen waste in to help balance the carbon and nitrogen levels which
will make better compost more quickly.
much of my kitchen waste can I put in my compost?
The Green Johanna will take
around 120 kilos per person a year.
I still use the composter if I only have kitchen waste?
you add layers of sawdust (carbon to balance the nitrogen in the food
can I put in my composter?
From the kitchen:
Fruit, vegetables, dairy products, fish, shellfish, meat, bones, coffee
grounds with filter, teabags, eggshells, bread, sauce, soup, egg
and so on. From the garden: Grass, leaves, twigs and
are rich in carbon?
Sawdust, twigs, leaves and
are rich in nitrogen?
Eggs, fish and meat. Newly
cut grass also contains a lot of nitrogen.
kind of paper from the household can be thrown into the compost bin?
Unbleached crepe paper,
napkins, coffee filter, torn egg cartons and daily papers (if they are
should I do if I put a lot of meat in the compost bin?
Put sawdust on the top and
close (but not entirely) the ventilation for a few days, so the flies
can't get in.
kind of material should I spread over the kitchen waste?
Sawdust, torn egg cartons,
garden waste. (Carbon rich material).
What type of carbon rich
material should not
be used in the compost?
Ashes, lime and Newspapers,
due to the risk of lead in the ink.
can't I put in my composter?
Glass, plastic, rubber,
paint, chemicals, fabric and so on.
I just throw everything in the compost in no special order?
should put material rich in carbon and material rich in nitrogen in
material be broken up before being thrown into the compost?
Ideally you should break up
the material into small pieces, making the micro-organisms and worms
work more quickly.
I don't put the material in layers, what happens?
you mainly throw material rich in nitrogen in the compost, it will get
too wet and start to rot and smell. If you then on the other hand throw
in too much material rich in carbon the process will go very slowly or
thick should the layers of material be in my composter?
Not more than 5cm (2
much newly cut grass can I put in my composter?
Avoid large amounts of
grass as this can prevent oxygen getting through and slow or stop the
weeds grow in my composter?
they will be killed in the high temperatures generated inside.
does the compost smell like?
There should be little or
no smell coming from a working composter.
do some composts smell of ammonia?
you have too little material rich in carbon you will get a surplus of
nitrogen. This nitrogen turns into ammonia and gives off an odour.
do I do if my compost smells of ammonia?
is important that air can get in to the compost. Mix the contents
properly with the stirring stick provided according to the instructions
and add some material rich in carbon.
it vital that I mix the contents?
micro-organisms need oxygen to be able to work.
do I use the stirring stick?
stick is made of wood with two metal wings at one end. The wings will
fold when you push the stick into the material and unfold when you pull
it upagain. Oxygenate the compost with the stick every time you throw
something in, blend the new material with the old. Do not use the
stirring stick deeper than 10-15cm (4-6 inches), only the top layer
should be aerated.
I put oak leaves in my compost?
but they contain a high level of tannic acid and therefore it takes a
long time for them to be turned into soil. In order to speed up the
process you should first put them in a sealed (vacuum if possible)
plastic bag for a month or two.
I put moss in my compost?
Only in small amounts.
I put citrus peel in my compost?
Yes you can, but ideally
break it up a little first and mix in with other food or compost.
I put cat and dog litter in my compost?
should avoid this, as it can be toxic. You would not wish to spread
this on the garden.
the process has stopped, what can I do?
the contents out onto the ground. Add some water and mix in some carbon
rich material. On the bottom of the composter put down branches and
twigs as before. Put the material back in the compost and start over
the contents start to rot (go anaerobic) what can I do?
Add sawdust, torn egg
cartons or paper, as they will help to absorb excess moisture.
do I do if there are a lot of flies in my compost?
Add material rich in
carbon, such as sawdust.
do I do if I have a lot of ants in my compost?
Ants are a sign that the
compost is too dry. Add water and stir with your stirring stick.
long will it take before the contents are "ready"?
For the first batch
approximately six months, thereafter every three to four months.
often should I empty my Green Johanna?
Twice a year, spring and
you use the composter during the wintertime?
with the Green Johanna you can get a winter jacket that protects
against the cold and the wind. It's guaranteed to work down to -25°C.
is recommended that the winter jacket be used when the temperature
drops below approximately 5 degrees Celsius.
how many years will the winter jacket last?
Just as many years as the
the winter jacket be damaged by rodents or birds?
If you keep the jacket
clean from food scraps and so on, animals have no interest in attacking
is the winter jacket assembled?
instructions come with the winter jacket and it is very simple to put
together. It is important that you add the winter jacket with the Green
Johanna standing on its base. If you do not, you may find it prevents
the lid closing.
I leave the winter jacket on during the summer?
you should remove it when the temperature will no longer fall below 10
degrees Celsius. If you leave it on, the Green Johanna may overheat and
stop working correctly.
do I do if the contents in the Green Johanna have frozen?
warm water over the contents (around 37 degrees Celsius) together with
some further kitchen or garden waste to reintroduce microbes. If you
know that the compost was too wet when it froze, try without water,
using only the organic matter. An alternative method to do this without
getting the compost too wet is to place a plastic drink bottle
containing boiled water into the compost. Please take care when
handling hot water.