If you're desperate to start the perfect compost heap, then look no further than our ultimate guide…
Not all of us are lucky enough to have been born with green fingers; and you'll be forgiven for thinking that 'humus' is a chickpea dip. But when it comes to gardening 101, the best place to start is your compost heap. It's super-easy to create fantastic soil for your plants. Take a look at our 10 step process below, created with Garden Buildings Direct.
1. Contain your excitement
Select a container for your compost and place it in a grassy, relatively shady part of your garden. You should make sure that the container doesn’t have a bottom – the compost heap should be directly touching the ground– and that it’s the right size for you and your family. You want to make sure it fits everything you need to dispose of, but it shouldn’t be too big either.
2. Touch base
Pile a few inches of branches and twigs at the bottom to help aerate the pile.
3. It's a balancing act
To have the most success composting, you want an equal balance of nitrogen, carbon, water and air. Nitrogen will be found in the green materials you use, and carbons in the brown matter.
4. It's all in the prep
Chop or break up any big chunks of matter before putting them in the container.
5. Variety is the spice of life… and compost!
Some of the best ingredients for a successful compost heap include: dried leaves; grass clippings; manure; fruit; vegetables; peelings; coffee grounds; tea leaves; old wine; used pet bedding (from omnivores only – rabbits and hamsters etc); dry cat or dog food; dust from sweeping and vacuuming; old herbs and spices; shredded newspaper; receipts; hair (human and pet); toothpicks; and wine corks.
6. Know what to avoid
Avoid meat, dairy and bread. These will rot and attract pests. Steer clear of any high processed foods as well, they take longer to break down.
7. Dig a little deeper
If you are going to be adding new scraps quite regularly, it’s a good idea to bury them under the pile that’s already starting to break down instead of just throwing them on top.
8. Air it out
Around once a week, you should use a spade or shovel to mix the materials around and aerate the pile slightly.
9. Make it rain
When you notice the pile is getting a little too dry, you should use water to moisten it slightly. If it’s a particularly hot day you should consider covering your pile so that it retains its moisture.
10. Ready, set, go!
Your compost should be ready to use after a few months. You will know when it turns a dark brown colour, develops an earthy smell and is warm to the touch, which is a result of all the microbes living inside.
For more tips, visit www.gardenbuildingsdirect.co.uk.