Beginners guide to composting.


Growing your own vegetables?

Anyone with a with vegetable patch should, by rights, have a compost heap.

The benefits are almost limitless.

Composting will save you money on fertilizer.

It provides soil with critical nutrients and bacteria and improves the quality of your soil, meaning you’ll no longer have to spend money on expensive garden soil. It also reduces household garbage. In fact, you’ll be amazed at how much you can throw into the heap and how quickly it piles up.

Another great benefit is that you can throw vegetable peelings directly into your compost heap. Which is a lot better than having them sit your dustbin until garbage day. Best of all it’s good for the environment. You get the benefit of incredible soil and save rubbish from being sent to the landfill.

Plus it’s fun!

If you’ve never composted before don’t worry. It’s dead simple and takes almost no expertise at all.

All you need is a hole in your back garden. Try to dig the hole at least ten square feet. This should be big enough. Also dig this hole as far away from your home as possible. There’s a chance that the heap will eventually start to smell, so you want it to be far from your home. Another reason to dig it away from your home is because insects will be attracted to your compost heap, and you don’t want them coming inside.

What can you compost?

Basically anything that’s organic and will biodegrade.

This can include.

  • Paper and cardboard.
  • Tea bags.
  • Vegetable and fruit peelings
  • Grass clippings.
  • Coffee grounds.
  • Plant cuttings.

Avoid material that won’t degrade quickly such as: Meat and bones, leftovers that aren’t plant material, branches and stems or anything which has been sprayed with pesticides. Also avoid any type of treated wood.

Basically throw everything into your compost heap and wait. The only work you have to do is turning the compost over. Do this with a pitchfork or shovel every 1-3 months. Turning the compost will speed up decomposition and help to keep away pests. It also gets air into the compost.

As time passes the material at the bottom of the heap will start to look like rich, black soil. When you can no longer recognize what you’ve thrown into the pile, it’s ready to harvest. This should take about 6-12 months.

At this point you can harvest your compost and use it wherever you’d like. This can be in your garden bed, vegetable garden or in your plant pots.

Bottom line: There’s no excuse for not having a compost heap.

Good compost helps vegetables grow like magic, and if you have space in your back garden then you should start one now. Remember, there’s no greater source of nutrition for plants than compost. A compost heap helps turn trash into treasure and is a must for anyone who is environmentally conscious.