Compost is a brilliant way to make sure your garden gets all the nutrients it needs but buying it from garden centres or home stores can be really expensive.
But making your own compost at home is really easy. It doesn’t matter if you have a small garden either, compost heaps can be as big, or small, as you want.
So we’ve put together some tips to help you create your own compost heap and get creating some great, fresh compost for your backyard.
Getting the balance right
A good compost heap has a balanced mixture of materials. There are two types of material – green and brown. Green composting materials are high in nitrogen and include coffee grounds, grass cuttings and leftover vegetables. Brown composting materials are leaves, paper, cardboard and even eggshells. They are high in carbon but the two types of material need to be equal in your compost heap to make sure they decompose quickly and rot down to the right consistency.
If you’re starting from scratch, you might not have all the different materials laying around. The easiest thing to get your hands on is grass clippings so next time you cut the lawn just save them and put them in your compost heap or bin. Then you can add leaves, which will also be easily found and you’ve already got a perfect balance – just make sure you mix it together well.
Mix it up
Once you’ve got a good balance of materials, you have to make sure they are evenly spread around in the compost heap. It’s no good just throwing things in and creating layers as you will find they won’t break down and you will get an uneven compost which may still have clumps of grass or vegetable peelings visible.
Mix your compost heap thoroughly at least once a week. Use a fork or shovel to turn over the materials and make sure they are all mixed together.
Find some worms
One of the best ways to improve your soil and compost quality is by attracting worms into your compost heap. While many people might be squeamish at the idea, earthworms love to chew their way through a compost heap and produce fine, high quality soil. In fact, using worms in composting (called vermicomposting) is so popular you can actually buy worms to add to your compost heap.
A family of worms can make light work of vegetables and grass clippings, making the usual composting process (usually taking around three months from start to finish) move much faster. Keep the ground around your compost heap moist and water the compost once a week or so to create the kind of habitat worms love.If you don’t want to actually invest in them however, you can attract them by adding coffee grounds to your compost heap regularly as worms love it as much as we do