Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

How to compost

by Diane - April 11th, 2012.
Filed under: allotment, General Gardening.

Composting for beginners

First get yourself a compost bin. Your local council will probably do a cheap
one. You can just use a heap method but it looks untidy.

If you have lots of grass cuttings then you will want to make sure you don’t
have too many put in at a time. This might mean having two bins. If you put
in too much grass at once it goes slimey. It will break down properly eventually
just goes through a rather yucky slimey stage. This is good for finding worms
in though if you like fishing!

Add in all your non-cooked non-meat kitchen waste. Put in kitchen roll tubes,
cardboard boxes shredded up. This can be used to break up the layers of grass.

If you have hedges then you can put small twigs on, ideally you’d shred
the twigs to make them smaller so they compost quicker. If you put twigs on
that are too big they take longer to break down.

Put everything in and when the bin is full leave it covered. This is where
you might find you need another bin. Even if the first bin sinks down you should
leave it alone. The sinking down means it’s all breaking down.

After several months it’ll mostly be done. You can remove the bin and
fork through the material. You might want to riddle it if you want to use the
compost in pots, or dig in the ground.

You can throw anything not composted back in.

Everything will break down eventually.

You don’t have to turn the compost heap but some people do and then leave
it again to break down again.

If it’s too wet it’ll go slimy, if it’s too dry it’ll
not compost.

You can add compost accelerator – bought or home made. Urine can be used
as compost accelerator.

If you don’t want a bin then you can just pile everything up in a heap
at the bottom of the garden. You don’t have to worry about getting the
mix right if you don’t mind leaving the heap alone and starting a new
one each year. Eventually the heap of material will be lovely and crumbly soil
packed with worms. Open heaps are often home to hedgehogs so can be a useful
addition to your garden.
If you use an open heap with lots of weeds in then you can cover it to exclude light and this stops the weeds growing!

I’ve just covered my compost pile up with a piece of carpet. This will allow the rain through but also keep the pile warm.
I’ve also thrown some muck in with my weeds and some grass cuttings.

If you put potato peelings on your compost heap then you will probably notice potatoes growing in it. You might even get a crop!

Someone who recently joined our allotment wheeled down 7 years worth of compost from his own garden. It was beautiful stuff he’d just left composting for years!