Compost may seem like a smelly subject, but in fact compost is great!
It’s a really simple way of helping the environment, turning the leftovers from your meals into valuable food for your garden.
By using your kitchen waste to make compost, you can help reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill (a big rubbish tip in the ground).
Did you know, composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the carbon dioxide that your kettle makes in the same time, or that your washing machine makes in just three months?
What’s also brilliant about composting is that in less than a year, you’ll have free fertiliser for your garden and plant pots, to help keep them healthy and looking beautiful.
And not only plants, but animals love compost heaps too! They’re a great habitat for wildlife in your garden, attracting insects and providing food for birds. If you have an open pile – and you’re very lucky – you may even see a hibernating hedgehog or a grass snake there.
What do we put into compost?
The best compost is a mixture of green things, like fruit and vegetable peelings, teabags and grass cuttings, along with brown things, like cardboard, egg boxes and paper!
So what should you put in?
Greens – these are things that rot quickly, and provide important nitrogen and moisture
- Tea bags
- Grass cuttings
- Vegetable peelings, salad leaves and fruit scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Old flowers and nettles
- Rhubarb leaves
Browns – these are things that rot more slowly. They provide carbon and fibre and also allow air pockets to form
- Egg boxes
- Twigs and branches
- Egg shells
- Cotton wool
Never – Some things just do not go in compost, either because they don’t rot or because they are likely to attract foxes, rats or other vermin, which can spread diseases
- Cling film
- Plastic bottles
- Crisp packets
- Cooked vegetables
How do you make compost?
Get yourself a compost bin and put it next to your usual kitchen bin. You can then start collecting all of the compost-friendly things whenever you throw anything away!
You also need an area or a bin in the garden where you’ll make the compost heap. This should stand on some bare soil, but if that’s difficult, put a layer of paper or twigs at the bottom.
Then, when your compost bin in the kitchen is full of green and brown things, you just empty it onto the heap in the garden.
Nature will do the rest!
Looking after your compost
It is important to keep an eye on your compost heap. If it looks dry, sprinkle on some water, and if too slimy, add shredded newspaper.
You will then have to be patient. Compost can take up to a year to be ready. When its soft and crumbly, it is then ready to use. If you have any lumpy bits, put these back in to compost down a bit more.