Nature’s food

May is the ideal time to start a compost heap in your garden, which will provide you with a ready supply of rich organic matter for your vegetable patch.

With the abundance of autumn leaves available in gardens in autumn, there is no better time to start a compost heap. Use those leaves, as well as other garden waste, to build up a compost pile, and after a few months you will be rewarded with nutritious compost which is a must for your garden.

What are the tips for success with a compost heap?

  • Position the heap in a well-drained area. Make sure the spot is warm and sheltered.
  • Place different layers of waste on the heap (see below).
  • Turn the compost heap regularly. This adds air, which speeds up the process.
  • Make sure the compost heap stays damp, but not soggy.

Make sure your compost heap is balanced. It must contain a mixture of brown and green material. Brown material is usually dry and includes items such as twigs, bark chips, straw and dry leaves. Green material is usually moist and consists of items such as kitchen scraps, flowers and green leaves.

Remember that the more you shred the waste, the quicker it will break down into compost. It is a good idea to add a compost activator such as Wonder Compost activator to speed up the composting process. Adding in some ordinary garden soil between your layers will also help to speed up the process, as it introduces the micro-organisms that do the decomposing. Moving some earthworms from your garden beds and placing them in the compost heap will also help.

What to use:

Leaves, grass clippings, spent vegetables, shredded branches, flowers, hedge clippings, kitchen waste – such as fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds and tea bags, newspapers, cardboard, hair or wood ash may all be used in the compost heap.

What to avoid:

Do not add leftover cooked food, the peel of treated citrus fruits, bones, tins, clothes, paint and paint brushes, glass, glossy magazines or coal ash to your compost pile.

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