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Confused.com Garden Tips - Compost Corner!


Why every home should have its own heap

They call it black gold for your garden, and what's more, it's totally free! No wonder homemade compost is the gardener's new best friend.

There are many advantages to creating your own compost heap. Gone are the days of buying expensive bags of compost from the garden centre. Kitchen leftovers and lawn cuttings can easily be transformed into a fantastic soil enricher. Not to mention a welcome relief to the environment as less rubbish is carted off to landfill.

However, successful home composting involves more than just chucking vegetable peelings and old flower stems into a heap and leaving Mother Nature to take her course, which is why you need...

...Confused.com's 10-point guide to carefree composting


1. Find a suitable container with a lid. It needs to be at least three feet square or it will not generate sufficient heat to rot everything down.

2. Ideal composting material from the kitchen includes fruit and vegetable scraps, teabags and eggshells. Newspapers are fine - but shred them first. Definitely steer clear of waste meat or fish as it will serve to lure rats and other undesirables.

3. Leave out sturdy weeds and any diseased plants as well as woody cuttings and prunings, which can take too long to break down.

4. Break up all bulky material before it goes in the compost bin. Ideally you should alternate waste material in layers.

5. It's important to manage potentially large amounts of grass cuttings: put these in thin layers if possible and don't overload the pile with grass or you'll find yourself with a soggy mess. Alternate the cuttings with rougher material or combine it with those shredded newspapers.


6. Dry materials like straw should be amalgamated with the layers of softer, moister waste from the kitchen and the garden. Try to use two parts of drier or woodier material to one part soft waste. This will allow air to circulate throughout the heap while providing nitrogen and moisture to encourage a good rotting process.


7. When the compost container is full, make sure you don't let it dry out or become saturated by rain. Try squeezing a handful to see how much liquid comes out. Ideally it should be just a few drops.


8. When you are starting out with a composting container, turn the contents after about a week. This will let the cooler material on the outside enter the warmer centre. Repeat this procedure two weeks later, and then leave it alone for about six months.


9. If you're filling the compost bin gradually, the material at the bottom should be almost ready for use by the time the container is full up.

10. In less than a year you should have a soft and crumbly compost - a bit like a fruitcake - to spread on your garden as mulch or to add to the soil to boost fertility.


Follow these ground rules and you'll have a warm glow from the knowledge you've done your bit for the environment - and obtained cheap fuel for your garden.


If you want cheap fuel for indoors as well as out, you could save money on energy by using Confused.com to compare gas and electricity.





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