Home composting benefits your garden and your environment and it’s easy. Compost is a complete and natural food for your soil, it improves its structure, its water retaining ability and its overall health. Simply place bio-degradable material in your compost bin and let nature do the rest.
Vegetable and fruit peelings
Chop up or crush stems and large pieces of tough vegetables. Brassica stalks are most difficult. They are best attacked with a lump hammer. Some people avoid potato peel as the eyes can sprout and produce plants. If they do, pull them out and re-compost them.
Tea leaves, coffee grounds and crushed egg shells
If you are using tea bags or coffee filters, try to make sure that they are the non-chlorine bleached kind. Egg shells should be rinsed then crushed.
The compost temperature should rise to about 66C ⁄ 150F which kills off most weed seeds and diseases. Weeds tend to be high in nitrogen and can be used as activator layers, especially nettles. Never attempt to compost pernicious weeds such as couch grass, bindweed creeping buttercup. They simply love compost heaps and will keep on growing.
High in nitrogen and a good activator. Avoid thick layers as they compact and turn to slime.
From your pet or family – no problem.
Paper (and soft cardboard such as egg trays) can be added in small amounts but should ideally be shredded.
Vegetarian pets only, such as Guinea pig or rabbit and it is best mixed with straw. All are good activators but pig manure tends to be a bit smelly.
These take a long time to decompose and should be added only in small amounts.
Contain lignin and take a long time to decompose the same as wood. Best dealt with separately in leaf mould piles.
Add only in small amounts and well chopped up. Again, they are best dealt with separately
Straw and hay
Old and chopped is best. Soak well before adding if dry.
You may be able to get them from your local brewery. High in nitrogen, they make a good activator.
The contents of a vacuum cleaner sack compost excellently particularly if you have woollen carpets. Do not try and compost if you have primarily synthetic carpets – synthetic threads
It takes between six to nine months for your compost to be ready. However, after this time you don’t need to wait until everything in the compost bin is composted before using it.
Remove the top two thirds of material in your bin and take away the bottom third for use – this should be a crumbly, dark material, resembling soil with a fresh, earthy aroma. This is your homemade compost which you can now use to condition your soil, or as a potting mix or as a mulch ⁄ top dressing.
Then sit back to watch your garden and indoor plants come to life!