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How to home compost

Composting at home is a great way to recycle your garden and kitchen waste into a free supply of compost that will keep your garden blooming year after year.

Making good compost

Like any recipe, your compost bin or heap relies on the right ingredients to make it work. You need a good mix of "greens" and "browns" to make sure your compost is properly balanced. Greens are quick to rot, they provide important nitrogen and moisture and so if your compost is too dry, add some greens. Browns are things that are slower to rot, provide fibre and carbon and also allow important air pockets to form in the mixture. If your compost is too wet, add some more browns.

"Greens" to put in:

  • Soft leaves, flowers and nettles
  • Grass cuttings (not too much in one go!)
  • Raw vegetable and fruit peelings, salad leaves, fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Spent bedding plants
  • Young annual weeds that haven't "seeded" yet

"Browns" to put in:

  • Twiggy shrub prunings and hedge cuttings
  • Straw and hay bedding & food from vegetarian pet hutches
  • Sawdust & wood chippings
  • Ashes from wood, paper & lump wood charcoal
  • Shredded paper
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Scrunched/torn up cardboard such as egg boxes

 Avoid these: 

  • Cooked food, meat and dairy products
  • Diseased plants
  • Perennial weeds or weeds with seed heads
  • Dog poo, cat litter or nappies
  • Plastics, glass and metals

Top tips for the perfect compost:

  • Place your compost heap or bin in a sunny spot on level, well drained soil. Loosen the soil below the bin to improve drainage and increase access for worms and bacteria
  • Placing some kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings on the soil at the bottom of the bin will help attract the worms and bacteria
  • Keep a good mix of "greens" and "browns" in your compost bin to make sure your compost is properly balanced. If your compost is too wet, add more "browns". If it's too dry, add more "greens"
  • Regularly fork your compost over to help aerate it which helps speed up the composting process
  • After 6-9 months your compost should be ready to enrich your flowerbeds!