I can’t stress enough that a working compost heap or bin is the heart and soul of your garden. I don’t mean a pile of grass clippings or a heap of rubbish but a proper area to re-cycle garden and kitchen waste into compost to enrich the flower beds, top dress the pots and raised beds and for use to pot up garden plants. This is a picture of my compost bin at the time of writing, not something many people would have in their photo collection!!
‘Don’t want to look at one’
Most people are not successful in their composting for various reasons and many don’t even consider it an option.
Firstly it’s just part of life, gardening, cooking and re-cycling with the added bonus of having a magical finished product. Think about how much compostable waste you produce every single day and what you do with it?
If I say you need a carbon : nitrogen ration of about 25 : 1 you’d think I was completely mad but everything living is made up of carbon and the nitrogen within helps to decompose it. You need a good mixture of green and brown waste. All green and there will be too much nitrogen and become anaerobic and smelly in no time. All brown and it will be too dry and provide an excellent nest for rats! Layered fruit and vegetable peelings, grass clippings, leaves, junk mail, cardboard, used pet bedding (newspaper, straw, sawdust) old compost from plants that have died etc etc can all be added (as they are produced) to create the perfect ratio. Avoid mature and perennial weeds, cooked food and prunings for numerous reasons.
So choose a suitable site, out of sight if you must but accessible as you will be visiting it every day. I chose a three bay wooden slatted bin so when they are all full up, the first one can be emptied easily by removing the slats. I find it takes about a year to create the perfect compost but I never fail to be totally and utterly amazed. I love my compost bins!
Cathie’s Gardening School Services
Consultancies are continuing but unfortunately the gardening school has had to close but we’ll be up and running again at some point. Next CGS course is Soils, plant nutrition and of course composting!