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single-wooden-composterAt Gardening Works we know many wonderful Master Composters but for those of you that might be wondering where to start, we thought these tips might help!

First create a space in which to do your outdoor composting. This should be an open space preferably direct on the ground, otherwise on hard standing. Compost can be made in a heap or a suitable container can be used such as a compost bin , which we have a huge variety of available at Gardening Works.

Gather together as much organic waste as possible and make a loose pile. These organic materials soon begin to heat up as the composting process starts. The volume then quickly shrinks. At this stage it is important to dig over the compost using a pitchfork, to introduce more air into the middle of the pile. This should be done a few times at the early stages of composting as natural compacting occurs.

The heat naturally generated quickly builds up again as microbes resume composting in the improved conditions. The temperature will quickly reach 130-I60F in a large well-mixed pile. This will help destroy weeds, seeds and disease and the materials will decompose much faster.

Turning also subjects insect larvae and spores to lethal temperatures inside the pile, which later cools as the microbial activity is succeeded by that of worms and beetles. Add more materials at any time until the pile is as big as the space will allow or the bin is full. Check regularly. Compost should be moist to give the best results. If it is dry add a bucket of water. If it is too wet mix in some brown or dry materials and cover to prevent more rain getting in. A well-balanced mixture of green and brown materials produces good compost. Compost will mature at less than half the original volume.

Once the composter is full and the contents have stopped shrinking quickly, the compost is left to mature. At this point you can start a new compost pile. In time the contents will become unrecognisable and the mixture is then ready for use. A big well-managed mixed pile can be ready for use in a few months. An unattended pile may take about a year. It is traditional to use 3 separate units, one mature and being used on the garden, another maturing and one currently being filled.

So we hope this helps you get started and here’s to lots and lots of lovely compost!