Spring into composting
Whether you’re a keen gardener or just want to choose the greenest, most natural way to deal with your food and garden waste, composting is the perfect solution.
Grass cuttings, dried leaves, twigs and vegetable peelings are just some of the ingredients that can go into a compost bin or heap to make peat-free compost – ideal to use in potting or planting in your garden or allotment.
Getting started is easy. All you need is a compost bin or a small space in the garden to create a heap. Then just follow our easy guide to creating your own supply of natural food for your garden.
Get composting today – for a greener tomorrow.
Compost is a natural, nutrient-rich food product for your garden. It will help improve soil structure, maintain moisture levels, and keep your soil’s PH balance in check while helping to suppress plant disease. It will have everything your plants need including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and will help buffer soils that are very acidic or alkaline. Compost improves your soil’s condition and your plants and flowers will love it!
Because home-made compost is peat-free, it’s good for the environment outside your garden too. It reduces the need to buy peat products, which have been commercially sourced and extracted from peat bogs, resulting in the release of stored carbon from the bogs.
A step-by-step guide
1.Find the right site. Site your bin or heap in the garden on bare soil. If space is limited, put your bin on concrete, tarmac or patio slabs; but make sure there’s a layer of soil or existing compost on the bottom so garden creatures can colonise.
2. Add the right ingredients. Fill your kitchen caddy with the right ingredients such as tea bags, taking care not to compost cooked food, meat or fish.
3. Fill it up. Empty your kitchen caddy and your garden waste into your bin or heap. A 50/50 mix of greens and browns is the perfect recipe for good compost.
4. After 9-12 months. The ingredients you have put in your bin or heap should have turned into a dark brown, earthy smelling material at the bottom of the bin, which can be dug out, with the newer material being left. But don’t worry if your compost looks a little lumpy with twigs and bits of eggshells – this is perfectly normal. Simply sift out any bits and return them to your bin or heap.
5. Ready! Once your compost resembles thick, moist soil and smells very earthy, it’s ready to use.
6. Collect the compost. Instructions will be delivered with your bin. But all you have to do is lift the bin slightly or open the hatch at the bottom and scoop out the fresh compost with a garden fork or spade. If you have built your own, simply rake out the ready compost.
7. Use it. And watch your garden bloom. Compost can be used for all your planting needs – vegetable plants for allotments; general potting (if mixed with something like ordinary soil); flowerbeds and enriching new borders by mixing in existing soil; or around trees by spreading a layer around the roots. Or use it as mulch material, mix with a layer of soil, and help prevent plant diseases.
To find out more about how to build yourself a compost heap, or to buy a bin, starting from only £14.00 visit www.surreywastepartnership.org.uk or call 0844 571 4444. You’ll also find lots of other helpful tips and information there too.