A Guide to Composting

compost, composting advice

Composting is a brilliant environmentally friendly way of removing the waste from your garden and kitchen and turning it into something useful, a fantastic example of the circle of life. Using your own compost is useful in all gardens, particularly for adding nutrients back into your soil and garden. 

When Is the Best Time to Start Composting?

You can actually create compost all year round. Whenever you have waste you can throw this into your compost bin and add to your mixture. The peak time for composting is usually around the end of summer, from September through till the beginning of Winter. 

How Do I Start to Compost?

A solid location and container for your compost provides a solid start to your composting. The best way to position your compost bin is in a nice shaded area, protected away from the extreme differences in temperature that could potentially upset the balance of bacteria forming. 

If your compost bin has an open base allowing for the compost to touch the earth below then this will provide excellent drainage, however, if your bin has a base to it you can simply add one or two shovels of soil into the bottom of your container as a good base. 

Ensuring you have the best size compost bin is a key ingredient to the success of your composting heap. A larger base is a much more successful compost allowing for a solid decomposition. 

What Materials Are Best?

A 50/50 mix of green and brown waste is a fantastic balance to creating the perfect compost. If 50% of your organic matter is made up of your kitchen waste and grass trimmings, this acts as a fantastic feed to the bacteria produced in the decomposition process. Equally, brown waste such as paper, cardboard, dead leaves and trimmings create the best habitat for the microorganisms to thrive. 

Having a cover on top of your compost heap allows protection from additional moisture from rain.

Turning Your Compost Heap

Composting is a process and it’s a process that welcomes a monthly turn of your organic waste to allow air to reach places it wouldn’t otherwise. A poor compost is usually left without any turning which can have a negative effect on your garden and soil. Ideally you want to be turning large amounts of organic waste at one time, however for most the process of composting is very gradual given that you’re using waste from your kitchen and garden, so patience is key. 

Problems I May Encounter?

Little Rotting: Too little rotting may be caused by too little moisture in your mixture. This is why it is important to regularly turn your compost heap to assess the moisture content. Try to balance out the dryness by adding more green compost, for example grass trimmings are a great way to add more moisture to the mix. 

compost bin

Smelly and Wet: Smelly and wet composting is often caused by too much moisture and not enough air. Try to protect the compost from additional moisture and balance the mixture out with some more brown waste, complete with regular turning of your compost mixture. 

Happy composting! 

image credit Twowests.co.uk