The Rocket Guide to Composting… Part One.

Making your own compost is a really worthwhile mission. You will inevitably have waste from both the garden and the kitchen that can be reused to help you add nutrients to the soil for a fab crop rather than being either shipped off to be disposed of by the council or driven by you to the local tip. It needn’t take up a lot of space and it’s very easy to get going.

In our three part series, we look at where to put your compost and what to put it in, what to add to your compost and how to get the best results, and finally a few common problems and what you can do about them.

Where to put your compost:

  • Choose a slightly shady area of the garden for your compost. This will keep it at a more consistent temperature allowing bacteria to get to work properly.
  • If you can put your compost bin directly on earth then this is the best option. If not and you are putting your bin on a hard cement like surface, then it’s good idea to add a couple of inches of earth to the base before adding any compost material. This way you’ll give your composted better drainage and access to extra microorganisms that live in the earth.
  • If you really don’t have much space to play with, try a wormery instead of a compost bin.

What to put your compost in:

  • You don’t need to be too fussy here. If you want something that is still relatively attractive, then a wooden compost bin works well (you can get some fun designs, including a beehive compost bin, or make your own out of some old pallets). If you don’t care about how it looks, then the plastic bins that you can buy are really good.
  • Bigger is a bit better. If you don’t have much space, then a small one will do, but bear in mind that it will be less effective than a slightly larger one. If you’re building your own, then we recommend building one at least 1m cubed. If you’re buying one, choose something upwards of 300l capacity.
  • There are loads of gimmicky things out there – don’t get too caught up in the hype. All you need is a compost bin that will give you a bit of drainage, keep your compost dry and aired and retain warmth. Easy access to be able to turn your compost with a garden fork is also needed, but most compost bins have a lid so this is pretty standard.

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