Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Composting at home

Why compost?

With so much organic material available from household and garden waste, many people throughout the UK make their own compost. Composting at home has many benefits, not least providing your garden with a source of nutrient rich compost.

Fact:

Almost a third of all household waste could be composted!

Preparation

Preparation

The first thing you’ll need is a compost container. You can buy compost containers from garden centres or make one at home.

Sorting

Sorting

Compost needs to get a good mix of greens (ie: grass cuttings, which compost quickly) and browns (ie: twigs, which compost slowly) to help even out the composting process. Good materials for your compost include: grass cuttings, egg boxes, leaves, tea bags, raw fruit and vegetables.

Some materials are best avoided or should not be used at all: meat, fat, fish, milk, cooked food, nappies, diseased garden plants, dog and cat faeces, glossy magazines.

Additional requirements

Additional requirements

Compost needs both air and water in order to aid the decomposition.

Water – make sure your compost gets a good sprinkling of water as you build up the layers of material.

Air – make sure you use a well ventilated compost container or turn your compost regularly with a fork or spade.

Decomposition

Decomposition

Now the bugs get to work! Microbes (natural bugs) use the organic material as a food source. The microbes use carbon and nitrogen present in the organic material to reproduce.

As a result of the activity of the microbes, natural heat is generated. This heat kills off other bugs which can be harmful to plants and humans. The heat also causes the evaporation of moisture, which is why steam can be seen rising from compost sites.

As a consequence of the microbes eating the organic material and evaporating the moisture, the level of material goes down.

Compost

Compost

The home composting process will usually take around 8 weeks and should be left for another 4 to 8 weeks to mature. The process can be quicker or slower. A good way to tell when it’s done is the smell and colour, usually earthy and dark brown.

Mixing your finished compost into your garden soil will provide natural plant nutrients, help retain moisture, improve soil structure and drainage, and help to make your soil healthier.

Main links

You are here

Personal tools