Every garden can benefit from a compost heap. Good compost will help your flowers grow more vibrant and your veg produce more food – its also a fantastic way to reduce your household waste. This guide will give you everything you need to be composting like a pro in no time.
Step1 – Choose A Compost Bin
There are loads of different ones out there, so there will be something you’ll like. Just make sure you choose one that suits how you are going to use it.
Plastic – A good beginner option, most plastic compost bins come with lockable lids to keep pests out. However, they don’t get quite as good air circulation or heat distribution of other types. Great for the beginner or gardener who just wants to give their plants a boost.
Wooden – These open-topped bins give good air circulation and heat distribution which helps to kill pathogens. However, if not treated correctly, the wood will eventually rot and need to replace.
Compost tumblers – These bins speed the process up a bit and are a good choice for people who have reduced mobility. Put your materials in the bin and turn a few times a week. They won’t produce as much compost as other styles, but you will get it quicker.
Wormeries – These are great for smaller or indoor spaces since the worms do all the work. The best option if you live in a flat or have limited space and still produce nutrient-rich compost. May not be the best option if you don’t like worms and they can give off a strong smell at times.
Step 2 – Find the right place fo your compost bin.
You should put your compost bin in a dry, well-drained place that is easily accessible year-round. Put over bare soil rather than concrete or paving to let worms and other beneficial organisms into the pile. You should also remove any grass or plants and turn t 6 – 8 inches of soil below the bin with a fork. For a wormery, follow the manufacturer’s guidance on placement.
Step 3 – Know what can and can’t be composted.
Composting materials can be broken down into two types – Green and Brown. You need both to get good results.
Green – grass clippings, fresh manure, vegetable trimmings and most green plant cuttings
Brown – leaves, hay, straw and paper
We’ve put together an at-a-glance guide to what you can or can’t compost in your garden. Feel free to print it off and hang it up to give you a hand.
Download here: Primrose Composting Guide
Step 4 – Start your compost.
Making compost is like layering a cake. Just make sure you moisten each layer with the mist setting of a garden hose or spray bottle. To get started:
- Line your bin with around 4 inches of twigs, hay and straw (for smaller bins see the manufacturers instructions for guidance)
- Add the same sized layer of brown material and cover with a thin layer of soil.
- Add the same sized layer of green material and cover with a thin layer of soil.
- Keep adding alternating layers of green and brown material until the bin is full.
- Aerate your compost with a shovel or fork every three to four days.
Step 5 – Use your compost.
When your compost has turned dark with a crumbly texture and takes on an earthy aroma, it’s ready to use. Compost can take between three to six months to be ready, but the longer you leave it, the better it will be.
Dig out your compost as you need it and give your plants and homegrown produce a good boost.
We have everything you need to get started with a great compost heap, why not take a look now.