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Get composting!

image Do you know that new research has discovered that almost half of your household waste rubbish and garden waste can be composted? But surely your waste will be broken down in landfill, right? Wrong – when waste goes to landfill it’s piled so high that air cannot reach the organic stuff, so as the waste breaks down it creates a harmful greenhouse gas which damages the Earth’s atmosphere: methane.

However, if this waste is composted above ground, say in a compost bin, then the oxygen can reach the waste to break it down, meaning that hardly any methane is produced. What’s more, in about nine months you get a bin full of free fertiliser for your plants and flowers!

Making your compost

Making the compost is easy, try to aim for a balance of 50% greens and 50% browns to get the right mix:

Greens are quick to rot and provide important moisture and nitrogen; examples of greens are:

Annual weeds, carrot tops, coffee grounds, cut flowers, grass mowings and hedge clippings, old bedding plants, vegetable peelings, tea bags, fruit peelings

Browns, whilst slower to rot, provide carbon and fibre to allow air pockets to develop:

Autumn leaves, Christmas trees, cotton towels, egg shells, straw, used kitchen paper, vacuum cleaner contents, wood ash, thorny prunings

Check out the full list of greens, browns and “don’t includes” click here.

Try keeping the contents of your compost bin regularly aerated by stirring the compost occasionally. Positioning the bin in a sunny position can also help to speed up the composting process.

Using your compost

clip_image001The compost process usually takes between nine and twelve months; once your compose turns into a crumbly, dark material then it should be ready to use.

Simply open the hatch at the bottom of the bin and scoop out the fresh compost using a spade or fork – don’t worry if there are twigs and eggshell still in it, just remove the larger pieces and put them back in your compost bin.

Apply a 5cm layer of compost over existing soil on your borders but leave gaps around any soft stemmed plants. Spread a thin layer of compost around the base of plants and in flower beds, and crumble compost around the vegetable patch.

Happy composting!

If you’re clearing out your garden for the warmer months then you’ll need a skip, read our Tips for garden clearance.

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