Composting is the way forward…

 

To help those that are new to composting or anyone that wants to improve their existing compost heaps, here’s a round-up of top tips:

 

Build a heap or buy a decent compost bin
If you don’t fancy building a compost heap, try a compost bin. They’re compact & perfect for smaller gardens & yards. You can also buy them online.

Pick the perfect spot
It’s best to put your heap or bin on a level, well-drained spot to ensure excess water drains easily. This also helps worms get in and get on with the job of breaking down the contents.

For the love of worms
Worms are perfect for waste disposal. They love dark damp places & eating waste, converting it into liquid feed & compost.

Don’t just put anything in your compost
Yes, include food waste, teabags, plant prunings, grass cuttings as they break down quickly to provide nitrogen & moisture. Also include cardboard like egg boxes, scrunched up paper and fallen leaves which take a little longer to rot but provide vital fibre and carbon. You also need air pockets to form in the compost to help the overall process.

Don’t include meat or dairy products, diseased plants, dog poo, cat litter, or babies’ nappies. These will cause unwanted pests and smells. Also avoid composting weeds with heads, dandelions and thistles. I’m sure you already know but as some are new to this don’t use plastics, glass or metals, continue to recycle these separately or put them in your grey bin.

Get the right mix
The key to good compost lies in getting the right mix. If your compost is too wet, add more ‘browns coloured stuff, paper, card. If it’s too dry, add ‘greens’. Always make sure there is enough air. Adding scrunched up paper & card helps create air pockets that will help keep your compost healthy. Air can also be added by mixing your heap/bin. Overall, you should regularly turn the contents to aerate and mix up the waste and cuttings, as this speeds up composting.

Speed up the process with a compost activator
A compost activator encourages the correct enzymes to help turn your grass, leaves and garden waste into dark, rich, crumbly compost in less than half the time, normally within 10 weeks. Activator can also be used revive partially composted or dead heaps.

Compost ready?
Your compost is ready when you have a dark brown, almost black soil-like layer at the bottom of your bin. Spreading the finished compost into your flowerbeds improves soil quality & helps retain moisture which limits weeds. It also reduces the need for chemical fertilisers and pesticides. So, it’s a win win.

For more gardening tips, including special offers, sign up to our monthly newsletter.