Composting

Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. It's easy to make and use.

Setting up your compost bin

Place your compost bin in a reasonably sunny spot on bare soil.

You should put your bin on soil because it makes it very easy for beneficial microbes and insects to gain access to the rotting material. It also allows for better aeration and drainage, both important to successful composting.

Making compost

We have provided you with a list of information about what you can add to your bin to make the best compost. Aim for a balance of 50 per cent greens and 50 per cent browns in your compost bin to get the right mix.

Greens 

Greens are quick to rot and provide important nitrogen and moisture - 

  • animal manure with straw
  • annual weeds
  • brussel sprout stalks
  • carrot tops
  • citrus peel
  • coffee grounds
    Green tick
  • comfrey leaves
  • cut flowers
  • deadly nightshade plants
  • fruit peelings and pulp
  • fruit seeds
  • grass mowings
  • hedge clippings
  • house plants
  • ivy leaves
  • old bedding plants
  • perennial weeds
  • poisonous plants
  • rhubarb leaves
  • soft prunings and plant debris
  • tea leaves and bags
  • vegetable peelings and pulp

Browns

Browns are slower to rot, provide carbon and fibre and allow air pockets to form -

  • autumn leaves
  • cardboard
  • Christmas tree
  • corn starch liners
  • cotton towels
  • cotton wool
  • egg boxes
    Brown tick
  • egg shells
  • evergreen prunings
  • hair
  • natural corks
  • nuts
  • paper bags
  • privet
  • straw
  • sweetcorn cobs
  • thorny prunings
  • tomato plants
  • used kitchen paper
  • vacuum cleaner contents
  • wood ash
  • wool

Don't add these

Certain things should never be placed in your compost bin -

  • bones
  • bread
    Red cross
  • cans
  • cat litter
  • cigarette ends
  • cling film
  • coal ash
  • crisp packets
  • dairy products
  • disposable nappies
  • dog faeces
  • dog food
  • drink cartons
  • meat and fish scraps
  • olive oil
  • plastic bags
  • plastic bottles
  • soiled tissues

Using your compost

Before starting, you probably want to find out if it’s ready to go. You can do this by making sure your compost is dark brown and smells nice and earthy. It should also be slightly moist and have a crumbly texture.

It probably won't look like the compost you buy in the shops and it's very likely that yours still has twigs and eggshell in it.

Don't worry, it's still perfectly good to use. Simply sift out any larger bits and return them to your compost bin.

Your fresh compost -

  • is nutrient rich food for your garden
  • helps improve soil structure
  • maintains moisture levels
  • keeps your soils pH balance in check while helping suppress plant disease.

It has everything your plants need including -

  • nitrogen
  • phosphorous
  • potassium
  • helps improve soils that are very acidic or alkaline 

Compost improves your soil's condition and your plants and flowers love it.