This week in the UK it is composting week (14th – 20th of March). With many more of us rightly becoming more conscious of our effect on the environment many people are turning to composting at home as a small way to make a personal impact at home. Our garden centres original founders John and Brenda Baker who are keen gardeners have put together some top tips on how you can begin composting at home.
As we head now into Spring now is the ideal time to start.
One of the great things about a compost bin is it can be positioned pretty much anywhere so if you have a shady corner that you haven’t found a suitable use for it could be the ideal spot for your compost bin. Your compost bin can be large or small depending on the space you have available. You can create a large bin from recycled pallets used for the base and sides or a smaller one from rolls of chicken wire fixed around fence posts. A great simple example of a DIY compost bin is by re-using a metre bulk bag supplied by builders with some holes cut into the sides.
What does the waste need to become compost? Well simply, air, moisture and warmth. This is one reason why Spring is a great time to start composting. Another is that you will have at your disposal many of the elements that compost best, these include, leaves, grass trimmings and all herbaceous plants as they deteriorate at the end of the season.
So we’ve talked about what’s great to put in your compost bin, well what about what’s not so good? You shouldn’t put any food waste into your compost bin as this will often draw in pests such as rats. Weeds containing seed which will only grow when you use the compost. Conifer trimmings which are acidic and don’t compost well. Plants that have been sprayed with pesticides.
Woody material can also be composted but this should be done separately as it takes several years for this material to break down and become compost. It needs to be shredded (chipped) before adding. If used too early it will take nitrogen from your soil.
Finally when filling you bin remember to use layers and add a sprinkle of compost accelerator to each layer. You can find recipes to make your own compost accelerator online or it can be bought readymade. The compost needs to be kept moist and covering the bin will help to keep it warmer which aids the process of composting.
Generally if you use the methods above your standard compost bin will yield compost for you to use in your garden and patio within around a year whilst composting woody material takes a little longer.