Composting is an environmentally friendly way of recycling kitchen and garden waste. It also creates a free soil conditioner that will improve your soil and therefore the health of your garden.
Discover how to make compost.
The type of compost bin you use will depend on the size of your plot, and the amount of compost you want to make. Here are four options.
You can make a DIY bin using wooden pallets or corrugated iron. Enclosing the sides will retain heat, speeding up the rotting process. The larger the pile, the more heat. The ideal minimum size is 1m x 1m, and ideally, make more than one – it makes the compost easier to turn. Watch Monty turn his compost.
A plastic compost bin is ideal for a small space. The plastic sides and lid retain moisture and heat to encourage rapid decomposition. They also block out light to stop weeds regrowing. The bin should ideally be placed on grass or earth.
Insulated with a close-fitting lid, hot composting bins are designed to allow decomposition at a much higher temperature and a higher speed (30-90 days, compared to around six months for ordinary compost) and results in a finer compost. They are roughly size of a wheelie bin and can stand on a hard surface.
These are designed for the small-scale composting of kitchen waste. Worms mix and break down the compost quickly and produce a nutrient-rich liquid for use as a fertiliser. Compost worms can also be added to larger bins. Not all waste can be composted, so you’ll still need a compost bin too.
Want to find out more about composting? Follow our four key tips for better compost.
Getting the right mix
Good compost should be made from a 2:1 ratio of ‘brown’ ingredients (woody material or paper and cardboard) and ‘green’ – soft plant tissues such as deadheaded flowers or grass clippings.