Home composting is the most environmentally-friendly way to deal with kitchen and garden waste. Known as black gold by gardeners, compost is a nutrient-rich product that your plants will love!
Benefits of compost:
- Provides plants with a nutrient boost
- Suppresses plant disease
- Improves soil structure
- Helps maintain moisture levels
- Keeps your soil’s pH balance in check
- Compost heaps are great for wildlife
There are many ways to compost! Here are a few:
- Small-space friendly
- Keeps out pests
- Limited volume
- Can take longer as its small size means it doesn’t get so hot
- Available for £18.50
- Cheap, if you can get free pallets
- Quick to make
- Not portable
Check out this step-by-step guide to making your own bin, or see below for how to make a 3-bin pallet system!
- Zero prep work!
- Easy to ‘harvest’ compost
- Requires more space
It’s still perfectly possible to home compost even if you don’t have any outdoor space. Check out this wikihow guide to composting indoors.
Ingredients for great compost…
‘Greens’ – these are quick to rot and high in nitrogen and water. They include:
- Vegetable kitchen waste
- Annual weeds
- Tea bags and coffee grounds
- Grass cuttings
You’ll notice ‘greens’ are not always green!
‘Browns‘ – these are slow to rot, high in carbon and often dry. They include:
- Prunings, twigs and hedge clippings
- Wood chippings
- Paper and cardboard (inc. egg boxes)
- Dead leaves
You’ll want a roughly 2:1 ratio of greens to browns.
What not to put in:
- Cooked foods, meat and dairy products, as these can attract pests
- Dog poo or cat litter, as these can carry pathogens
- Diseased plants
Invasive plants (such as bindweed) and weeds with seeds should be ‘drowned’ in water for a few weeks before adding to the compost heap.
The golden rules
- Bigger is better – bigger heaps get hotter and therefore make compost more quickly. For the same reason, it’s best to put your bin in the sun.
- Layer it – add greens and browns in layers to keep moisture levels right. Compost should be damp but not wet. Water if needed.
- Turn it with a garden fork every month or so to introduce air and mix the materials. This will speed up the process!
- Don’t sweat it – composting is a natural process, so whatever you do, it will happen eventually! It should take between 3-12 months.
Using your compost
- Spread on garden beds – adding 1-2 inches of compost just before planting will give your plants a nutrient boost!
- Use around fruit bushes and trees to help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds. Don’t place it directly against the bark as this could cause rotting.
- Feed your lawn – dressing your lawn with compost helps young grass take root and can make your garden healthier and greener!
We’ve also written a guide to growing at home on a budget – check it out here.