Making and Using Compost

What ingredients can go in?

You can plant flowers directly into your compost

You can plant flowers directly into your compost

The key to a good compost lies in getting the mix right, you need a good balance of "greens" and "browns" and keep certain items out!  If your compost is too wet add more browns, if it is to dry add more greens.  Air is also essential to the process so give it a good stir to create air pockets.

Greens (high in nitrogen)

  • Grass cuttings
  • Tea bags
  • Vegetable peelings
  • Salad leaves
  • Fruit scraps
  • Old flowers
  • Nettles
  • Coffee grounds & filter paper
  • Old bedding plants
  • Horse manure

Browns (high in carbon)

  • Crushed egg shells
  • Egg boxes
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Garden prunings
  • Twigs and hedge clippings
  • Straw and hay
  • Sawdust
  • Wool
  • Feathers
  • Shredded paper
  • Ash from wood, paper and lumpwood charcoal

Keep these out

  • Cooked vegetables
  • Meat
  • Dairy products
  • Diseased plants
  • Dog poo or cat litter or baby's nappies

Using Your Compost

The composting process can take up to 18 months until the compost is ready to use in your garden.

Your lovely fresh compost will be full of nutrients that will help improve your soil structure, maintain moisture levels and manage your soil's PH balance.  It also includes nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus to help your plants and flowers.

On flower beds

Dig a layer of compost into the soil before planting or spread thinly around the base of existing plants.  Nutrients will work their way down to the roots and your plants will enjoy the benefits. Enriching new borders

 Spread a layer of compost over existing soil and worms will quickly get to work mixing it in for you.

As mulch

To create mulch use compost that isn't quite finished, mix it with normal soil and then scatter over flowerbeds and around shrubs.  This will help prevent soil erosion and replenish nutrients, a thin layer should do the trick.

Around trees

Spreading 5cm around tree roots can help provide important nutrients and protect against drought and disease.  Avoid the base of the tree and do not spread too close to the trunk.

In pots & containers

A few centimetres of compost will give your plants a boost

Growing herbs & vegetables

Compost is excellent for growing herbs such as chives, parsley and mint.  Your vegetables will also benefit from compost added to the soil, particularly potatoes and carrots.

On your lawn

Remove any large twigs or egg shells from the compost, mix the compost with some sharp sand to help it spread and then sprinkle a layer on to your lawn.  Mature lawns will hugely benefit from this, but be aware that newly seeded lawns or turfed lawns could suffer.

Have you got an issue with your compost?

Visit: How to Rescue Bad Compost

Further questions can be answered on our Frequently Answered Questions page