Whether you are growing vegetables or flowers ( we grow both ) you need to feed. Traditional gardeners will tell you to feed the soil, not the plants and there is a great deal of truth in this. Well rotted compost is free or cheap and is a fantastic soil conditioner and provides many nutrients that your plants need.
If you have the space then an old fashioned heap will do you, but if, like us, you are pressed for space then either a bin or something like it is just as good. We have started ours using these compost bins from Walford Timber. They are inexpensive and very easy to erect and use afterwards as they are just slotted timber. I bought 2 to make it easier to turn the heaps. When I have enough in 1 bin I can very easily move it from one to the other.
It’s best to site it on a level, well-drained spot, which will ensure that any excess water drains away easily. This also helps worms to get in and get on with the job of breaking down the content.
Put the right stuff in
Good things to compost include vegetable peelings, fruit waste, teabags, plant prunings and grass cuttings, in fact most of your garden waste. These are fast to break down and provide important nitrogen as well as moisture. It’s also good to include things such as cardboard egg boxes, scrunched up paper and fallen leaves. These are slower to rot but provide fibre and carbon and also allow air pockets to form in the mixture.
Please remember some things are no nos
- No meat or dairy products. They won’t rot and you certainly don’t want Mr Rat
- Perennial weeds are not a good idea either unless you cut them into very small pieces
Do try to layer green and brown. Brown consists of things like fallen leaves, dead flowers and paper. If you plan on adding paper to your compost heap, you should ensure that it is non-glossy and is shredded to allow the paper to break down.
You can buy nitrogen based products that will help it to rot, but to be perfectly honest there is no need. When you get up in the morning, pee into a bucket and pour that on. Just pee mind, no poo. Once you have enough then cover it with a lid, or old carpet to help it heat up.
Finally don’t forget to regularly turn the heap