Home-made compost is a great soil conditioner and plant food. Good compost will take about six months to produce if you turn it regularly.
Monty's compost recipe
What should you put on your heap? The simple answer is anything that has lived. But I exclude all meat, fat and anything that has been cooked, as these will attract vermin. I also avoid citrus remains because they are slow to rot and very acidic, which reduces worm activity.
Very few plants contain the right balance of nitrogen and carbon on their own to make perfect compost. Most piles have too much nitrogen, especially if the main source is from grass cuttings and kitchen waste - the result is an evil-smelling sludge. Equally, an excess of carbon will significantly slow down the composting process.
Nitrogen typically comes from lush green material and carbon from woody stems. For every barrow load of cut grass, you should mix in the same volume of straw, sawdust or cardboard. Ensure any woody material is broken into small pieces or shredded.
Except for gloss or colour-printed paper, all packaging can be composted. It should be scrumpled up and mixed in equally with the normal vegetable waste to allow plenty of air to get in, rather than placed in lasagne-like layers.
How to do it
Avoid sickly plants, such as brassicas, if they have clubroot, and blight-ridden potato and tomato plants.
Autumn is a good time to either dig your compost into the soil, or spread it on the surface, allowing winter frosts to break it down even further. Try sieving compost
Keep your compost warm by covering it with a layer of old carpet or plastic sheeting.