Home-made compost is a thing of wonder when all goes well! But too often it goes horribly wrong and we end up with a putrefying heap. Here are my tips to create a rich, sweet compost. . .
How to make compost
I have tried several methods, including my late grandfather’s which involved careful layers of
various ingredients and sprinkling on lime at intervals, but I decided to try my own method.
To make good compost you need more or less equal amount of 'greens' and 'browns' by volume.
1 Collect enough compost materials to make a layer of at least 30cm or more in the compost bin.
2 Place a few woody plant stems or small twigs on the bottom first as this will improve the air circulation and drainage.
3 Mow the lawn, empty the kitchen bin of scraps and weed the garden and place on top.
4 To help create air spaces within the heap, mix in some torn up cardboard packaging (cereal
boxes are ideal), straw and wood prunings.
5 Make sure you mix up your kitchen waste with egg boxes, toilet roll middles and similar
household paper and cardboard products to create a better balance.
6 Occasionally mix everything together and add water if it is dry, or dry material if it is soggy.
Leave to mature and by Autumn you’ll be digging in your very own wonderful compost, dragged from the bottom of your heap. It is very rewarding, great for the plants and also free!
You can make your own, using old floorboards, posts and wire netting. Alternatively you can opt for ready made bins. Check with your council as many offer cheap bins to encourage recycling. If not, garden centres stock a good variety. Position it out of the main line of sight, behind a shed or some tall plants.
- Fruit and veg scraps
- Coffee grounds and tea bags
- Old flowers and bedding plants
- Garden clippings
- Annual weeds
- Crushed egg shells
- Small animal bedding (e.g. rabbit)
- Shredded cardboard, including tubes
- Egg cartons
- Lawn mowing
You cannot use
- Food waste (bread, meat etc.)
- Cat and dog faeces
- Evergreen leaves
- Thick rooted perennial weeds