Home composting

Transform your organic waste into a valuable resource for your garden.

To order either go to the Get Composting or by telephone 0800 316 4454 (freephone).

If your household bin is overflowing each week, then a home composter could be just the thing you need. There are lots of reasons to try home composting.

  • It can save you money by providing you with free soil conditioner and by helping to keep your soil moist (reducing water consumption)
  • It can help your garden by improving plant health and growth giving you bigger crops of fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs by making your home-grown foods healthier

It improves our environment by:

  • changing your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable resource
  • using up waste cardboard
  • reducing the amount of waste going to landfill
  • reducing landfill methane (greenhouse gas) creation
  • putting nutrients back into the soil
  • reducing reliance on toxic chemicals and pesticides
  • reducing the need to buy peat based products. Most commercial compost comes from peat bogs. These provide natural habitats for rare plants and animals and are almost extinct so we need to do what we can to protect them.

Where is the best place to site a Compost Bin?

A composter needs to be sited on a level, well drained spot in order to allow excess water to drain out and to make it easier for helpful creatures such as worms to get in and start breaking down the contents.

What can I put in my composter?

A composter needs the right ingredients to make it work.

The materials that are good for the composter are labelled as 'Greens' because they are quick to rot and they provide the compost with important nitrogen and moisture.

The following are good things that should be placed in the composter.

  • Vegetable peelings
  • Fruit Waste
  • Teabags
  • Plant Prunings
  • Grass Cuttings

Other materials that you can compost include cardboard egg boxes, scrunched up paper and fallen leaves.  These are considered 'Browns' and are slower to rot down.  They provide fibre and carbon and also allow air pockets to form in the compost.  Crushed eggshells can be included to add minerals.

The following must not be included in the composter:

  • Cooked Vegetables
  • Cooked or Raw Meat
  • Dairy Products
  • Diseased Plants
  • Cat or Dog excrement
  • Cat Litter
  • Disposable Nappies
  • Shiny Card

Putting this material in your composter can encourage unwanted pests and also create an odour.

Avoid composting perennial weeds such as dandelions and thistles and also weeds with seed heads.

For best results, ensure your compost bin contains some grass cuttings or vegetarian animal manure.  They heat up and speed up the composting process.  However they should be mixed with other organic waste to avoid slime formation.

It is essential that your compost bin is kept warm and moist.  Placing the bin in the sun and out of the wind is therefore preferable.  Ensure you always put the lid on your compost bin and do not let the compost dry out. Ensure that air is getting to the centre of the bin by turning the material regularly.  This will speed up the decomposition process.

How do you know when your compost is ready?

Your compost is ready when it does not resemble anything that you put in the bin.  The process usually takes approximately 6-9 months, however it can take longer depending on the mix you put into the bin.

Finished compost is dark brown soil-like layer at the bottom of the composter.  Spreading this onto your flowerbeds greatly improves the soil quality and helps retain moisture and suppresses weeds.

Last Updated on Friday, February 24, 2023