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Composting 101 for Beginners

For any gardener, keeping a compost heap is an essential part of the job! Not only does it help the environment by recycling organic and biodegradable materials, it also provides you with free food for your plants and garden. Using compost on your plants creates a better quality soil, helping the ecology of your garden and saving you money in the meantime. It’s not difficult or expensive to start making your own compost, all you need is a little space and some time. Once you see your compost heap beginning to look like the stuff from the garden centre, there’ll be no turning back! Here’s our guide to get you started with making your own compost.

  1. Find an enclosure or compost bin. It should be no bigger than 6ft wide, and ideally be directly on the ground to help with aerating. You can purchase specialist compost bins, or build your own container. If you have an enclosed area of garden, such as near a brick wall, then this can double as a compost area.

  2. Anything you put into a compost heap falls into one of two categories:

Green material

This is usually grass and kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings. It is usually wet and provides moisture to the compost heap.

Brown material

This can be cardboard, newspaper and mulchy leaves. It acts as a roughage to your compost, preventing it becoming too soggy.
 

3.  Air circulation is essential in helping your compost decompose, so regularly turn the mixture with a garden fork to keep it aerated. If you don’t, it will become too soggy and won’t turn into compost.

4.  Apart from feeding it with organic materials and giving it a turn, your compost heap should look after itself! If you notice it becoming too dry, perhaps due to a lack of rain, simply add more green material to it. Likewise, if it seems too wet, then add more brown material to soak up some moisture.

5. It will take at least a few weeks to turn into compost, but don’t be surprised if it’s a few months before you can use the material. You want to use it when it turns into what looks like soil. It should be crumbly and moist.

Avoid:

X Don’t add meat or any animal products to your compost

X Don’t add faeces - with exception from vegetarian animals such as rabbits & guinea pigs

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