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How to Compost: green johanna

The Green Johanna compost bin is different from a standard compost bin because it is designed to be rodent proof and is well insulated. This means that the composting process is quicker than in a standard compost bin and you can put in all types of food waste, including cooked food, bones, fish and meat, which should not be added to a standard compost bin.

Green Johannas also come with a winter jacket and an aerator which can be used to accelerate the composting process.



Home composting is easy, but there are a few guidelines that you need to follow. It is important that you put both green (wet) and brown (dry) materials into your Green Johanna.

A good starting point is to use one part brown materials to two parts green materials in your Green Johanna.

YES - Green Materials
GREEN materials are wet and contain lots of nitrogen. They break down quickly and help to keep the compost moist.
Cooked food
Dairy products
Egg shells
Fruit and vegetables
Garden and house plants
Grass cuttings
Raw meat and fish (including bones)
Tea leaves/bags and coffee grounds

YES - Brown Materials
Brown materials contain lots of carbon. They break down more slowly and add structure to your compost. It is important to have structure within your compost to create air pockets which allow air to circulate and enable the creatures which make your compost to breath and move around your compost.
Bedding from pet cages
Hedge trimmings
Scrunched up paper & cardboard
Straw & hay
Woodchippings & sawdust

Please do not place the following in your Green Johanna:
Cat or dog litter
Coal or coke ash (wood ash is ok)
Diseased plants
Nappies, glass, plastic or metal


Siting your Green Johanna

Put your Green Johanna in an area that is easy to get to all year round. This will make it easy for you to add new materials.

To help the composting process, choose a location for your Green Johanna that is out of excessive sunlight and is sheltered from the wind.

Ideally you r Green Johanna should be placed on the ground (either bare soil or grass), not on concrete, tarmac or patio slabs. This will make it easier for worms and other creatures, which help break down your garden and kitchen waste, to enter the Green Johanna.


Before putting materials in your Green Johanna for the first time, you should place a layer of brown materials such as scrunched up cardboard or branches and twigs at the bottom of your bin. This layer should be about 6 inches (15cm) deep and will help air to circulate at the bottom of the compost bin once more materials have been added. Good air circulation speeds up the composting process.

Adding materials

Once the first layer of twigs and branches have been put into your Green Johanna more brown and green materials can be added as they become available. Where possible try adding one part of brown materials to two parts of green materials in your Green Johanna, as this will create the best compost.

Scattering and mixing materials will help speed up the composting process. New green materials should be covered with some brown materials, as this will deter flies.

Adding air

Adding air speeds up the composting process as it enables the bacteria that break down your kitchen and garden waste to work effectively.

The best way to put air into your compost is to turn it using one of the following methods:
  • Use the aerator provided to gently mix the compost up and down.
  • Empty the contents of your Green Johanna and turn them with a garden fork before returning them to the bin.
  • Turn your compost while it is still in the bin using a garden fork.
Making sure that your compost doesn’t get too wet or dry

Your compost needs the right amount of moisture to work. You can tell if your compost is too wet or dry by gently squeezing a handful. If a couple of drops of water emerge between your fingers the compost has the right amount of moisture in it.

If your compost feels dry and dusty, add some green materials and some water.

If your compost feels slimy or soggy, mix in some brown materials such as scrunched up cardboard/paper, sawdust or small twigs.

Using the winter jacket

The winter jacket helps to speed up the composting process in wintertime when the composting process slows down due to low air temperature. The jacket should be fitted when the average temperature falls below 5 ° C and removed when the temperature is constantly above 10 ° C.

It is important to remember to remove the jacket when the temperature rises. This is because if the compost becomes too hot the creatures which make compost can die, halting the composting process.

How long does it take?

The time it takes to get useable compost depends on:
  • The type and quantity of materials in your bin
  • The time of year
  • How often you turn your compost
Depending on the conditions your compost will be ready in 4 – 6 months. The ready compost will be crumbly and dark brown. You should not be able to recognise the original materials that were put into the bin, although some twigs and eggshells may still be visible.

Emptying your Green Johanna

There are a number of methods for emptying your Green Johanna:
  • Remove compost through the hatches.
  • You can lift the Green Johanna from around your compost, cover the compost with a plastic sheet and leave it until all the materials have broken down.
  • You can empty the contents of the Green Johanna into a standard compost bin and leave it until all materials have broken down.
  • If you have two Green Johannas, once one is full you can start to use the other one. By the time the second one is full, the compost in your first bin should be ready to use.
Please make sure that you return any materials that still look like food to your Green Johanna and leave them to break down for a few more months.


Home composting:
  • Creates a useful product that can be used as mulch, soil conditioner, lawn conditioner or as part of a seed and potting mix.
  • Reduces the need for landfill.
  • Reduces the risk of global warming. When kitchen and garden waste breaks down in a landfill, methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is produced.
  • Saves the Earth’s natural resources by reducing the need for peat taken from endangered habitats.
Uses for compost:
  • Mulch – a layer of compost can be applied to the surface of soil. This will add nutrients, helping to encourage plant growth.
  • Soil conditioner – mix compost into the soil to improve structure and add nutrients.
  • Lawn conditioner – mix an equal amount of sand and fine compost and spread over your lawn.
  • Seed and potting mix – mix equal amounts of soil and compost. Experiment to find out the best proportions.
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