It’s International Compost Awareness Week ( 5-11 May ) this probably won’t fill you with excitement , even if you’re a very keen gardener, but just give me a couple of minutes to convince you to join in the glories of compost making.
The compost bin is the engine room of the garden, just about whatever plants you grow will be stronger, healthier and look better if you give them good soil to grow in.
Good soil is made by adding compost to it, like well-rotted manure or soil improver bought from a garden centre; but the best type is the one you make for free in your own garden.
Reasons to make compost:
- it’s easy to convert garden rubbish into valuable compost
- there’ll be less waste going to landfill
- you’ll save money
- plants will be healthier and less susceptible to diseases
- it improves any soil, breaking up heavy clay soil and giving more substance to thin, sandy soil.
We use compost in our garden when we’re planting new plants, adding a generous amount to the planting hole. We also spread a thick layer on the soil surface in early spring to seal in the moisture and reduce the number of weeds.
This is how we make compost for our garden:
- there are two bays, measuring 1 x 1m, made from old pallets, lined with heavy card-board so there aren’t any gaps.
- we throw in plant waste, old flowers, vegetable peelings, any vegetables or fruit that’s gone over, brown card-board (toilet roll tubes etc.) grass clippings.
- it’s covered with sheets of thick recycled plastic, this helps it to warm up.
We don’t add any cooked food, weeds, twiggy growth or egg-shells.
When bay 1 is emptied in the garden, we transfer bay 2 contents into bay 1 to mix it all up, then we’re off again.
There are no rat invasions, it doesn’t smell and we love the satisfaction of recycling all the garden rubbish, apologies for the smug factor here.
- buy a nice looking compost bin if you can’t hide it away
- try and make room for at least two bins
- smaller bins take longer to warm up, so the process is a bit slower
top image: Jill Anderson
lower image: Wiggly Wigglers