- Gather the correct proportions of nitrogenous (‘green’) and carbonaceous (‘brown’) plant trimmings – mixing lawn clippings with woody cuttings for example.
- Remember compost needs air. Never lay the material in a trench and do not use containers which are closed on all sides.
- Do not place the compost heap on a solid base made of stone, concrete, etc. The compost needs an ‘earth connection’, so that earthworms and small organisms can penetrate it.
- Earthworms are beneficial to your compost heap and are attracted by phlox and elder for example. Onion skins, chive residues, ground coffee and tea leaves are also favourite foods for earthworms.
- Create order in your compost heap. For the bottom layer, pile up coarse shredded material – approximately 20cm high. On top of this add mixed, finer materials such as leaves or shredded material.
- Thinly spread lawn clippings – to prevent the danger of decay!
- Always cover kitchen waste with soil, as it attracts vermin.
- Avoid totally dry conditions as micro-organisms in compost heaps need moisture.
- Do not water the compost excessively.
- Cover up the finished compost heap.
The composting process takes several months, depending on the time of year and the ambient temperature. When the compost has matured it should smell pleasantly of forest soil and fungus.
Tip: If you put shredded waste on a compost heap, subsequent turning over is no longer required.
Tip: Passing waste material repeatedly through your garden shredder provides optimal mixing and aeration. Shredding waste before placing it on the compost heap speeds up decomposition as it increases the surface area open to attack by microbes and decomposition agents.