Making your own garden compost is not too difficult once you have the right ingredients. It is also a great way to use up your garden waste and turn in back into something useful to feed you flowerbeds. Homemade compost is invaluable in the garden – it’s a great soil improver, mulch and growing medium.
To make good compost, you need about a 50:50 mix of materials which are rich in nitrogen and carbon. Most compost bins have too much nitrogen, especially if the main source is from grass cuttings – the result of this will be a smelly sludge. If you have too much carbon in your bin, the composting process will be very slow. Nitrogen comes from lush, green material such as grass clippings. Carbon comes from brown material, such as woody stems and cardboard. For every bucket load of green material, you need to add the same volume of brown carbon material. Scrumple paper and leave egg boxes or loo rolls intact – these help to keep the compost aerated. Shred woody stems before adding them so that they break down more easily.
Most compost bins have too much nitrogen, especially if the main source is from grass cuttings – the result of this will be a smelly sludge.
A compost bin can be as simple as a couple of pallets on the side placed directly on the ground, but many are also commercially available. Worms will be free to enter the compost to help break it down. The process can be speed up by turning your heap occasionally with a garden fork to aerate it, mixing the outside ingredients to the inside. Covering your bin will keep the rain out. The process is complete when the mixture turns brown and crumbly and slightly sweet smelling. This will take around six months if the heap has been turned regularly, but can take much longer. The final product can then be added to any flower bed to rejuvenate the soil and add nutrients back. Simply adding a covering of compost over your cut back herbaceous flowerbed will ensure good healthy plants and phenomenal flowering through the season.