Making organic compost
Home-made garden compost contains lots of nutrients that plants love - such as nitrogen and carbon. When you add it to your garden soil it will improve it and make it even better for growing plants.
Composting your kitchen and garden waste will give you an environmentally-friendly source of organic matter - and it’s free! It will take about 6 months to produce compost that’s lovely and crumbly and ready for planting your flowers, fruit and vegetables.
What you'll need
A compost bin or old dustbin or similar with holes in the bottom and garden &/or kitchen plant waste. The worms and micro-organisms needed to break it down into compost will find you!
You’ll need a sunny corner of your garden to put your bin (or you can build your own from recycled timber – look on the internet for ideas). It needs to be placed on the soil, as you want worms and other micro-organisms to come up through the soil to help, and for any liquid to drain away. And it will need a cover to keep the warmth in and the rain out.
This is the most important part. You’ll need to keep adding equal amounts of nitrogen-rich green waste (grass clippings, green leaves, weeds, vegetable kitchen waste) and carbon-rich woody waste (prunings, wood chippings, torn-up paper, cardboard, straw or dead leaves). For every wheelbarrow load or bucketful of cut grass, you should mix in the same volume of sawdust, shredded cardboard or other woody waste. Avoid meat, fat and cooked food otherwise you’ll just attract foxes, rats and other vermin; also worms don’t really like an excess of citrus remains.
Any large pieces of material, should be cut into smaller pieces or even shredded; the smaller the pieces, the quicker they will rot down.
Composting is a biochemical process whereby organic matter is decomposed by naturally-occurring micro-organisms. Keep the compost heap moist, warm (wrap with a piece of old carpet in winter) and aerated as these are the conditions that worms and micro-organisms love. Turn your heap occasionally with a garden fork to let the air in, making sure that you mix all the outside ingredients to the inside.
If you find that your compost isn't rotting down quickly enough - it's always slower in winter - then add a compost accelerator.
When the mixture is brown and crumbly and smells a bit like a damp wood, then you’re ready to use in the garden!