Making your own compost is easy and it’s a great way to recycle all sorts of kitchen and garden waste. Just follow these simple steps to produce your own nutrient-rich compost for the garden.
First, find the right site
Ideally, your compost bin should be in a reasonably sunny position on bare soil. If you have to put your compost bin on concrete, tarmac or patio slabs, make sure there’s a layer of paper and twigs or existing compost on the bottom. Choose a place where you can easily add ingredients to the bin and get the compost out.
Add the right ingredients
Have a container available in or near your kitchen, such as a kitchen caddy or old ice cream tub. Fill this with vegetables, fruit peelings, tea bags, toilet rolls, shredded paper, cereal boxes and eggshells. Take care not to compost cooked food, meat or fish. Regularly empty your kitchen caddy, along with your garden waste, into your compost bin.
Garden waste includes grass cuttings, plant prunings and clippings, and dead flower heads. Do not add perennial weeds to your compost bin. A 50/50 mix of greens (garden waste) and browns (kitchen waste) is the perfect recipe for good compost.
It takes between nine and twelve months for your compost to become ready for use, so now all you need to do is wait and let nature do the work. Keep on adding greens and browns to top up your compost. You can always start a second bin if you have the space / materials to fill it with.
Once your compost has turned into a crumbly, dark material, resembling thick, moist soil and gives off an earthy, fresh aroma, you know it’s ready to use. You can now lift the bin slightly or open the hatch at the bottom and scoop out the fresh compost with a garden fork, spade or trowel. Don’t worry if your compost looks a little lumpy with twigs and bits of eggshell – this is perfectly normal.
Use your lovely home-made compost to enrich borders and vegetable patches, plant up patio containers or feed the lawn.