How to start composting

Creating a compost heap in your small garden is a rewarding and eco-friendly way to recycle kitchen and garden waste. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Choose a Suitable Spot: Find a well-drained location in your garden that is easily accessible but away from direct sunlight. A shaded area helps maintain the right moisture levels.
  2. Gather Compostable Materials: Collect kitchen scraps like vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Combine these “green” materials with “brown” materials such as leaves, straw, and small branches. Small amounts of shredded cardboard can also be beneficial.
  3. Build Your Compost Pile: Create alternating layers of kitchen scraps and garden waste. Make sure to balance the mix between nitrogen-rich (kitchen scraps) and carbon-rich (leaves, straw) materials. Essentially the green materials add nutrients but can be very wet by adding the brown material such as cardboard or leaves the compost binds together better and becomes more friable. Small amounts of grass cuttings can be added just make sure that you aren’t adding too much in one go as it can clog the compost.
  4. Turn the Pile Regularly: Turn the compost heap every few weeks to aerate it, being careful to allow time for the internal temperature to rise and kill off any ‘nasties’. Regular turning helps speed up the decomposition process and ensures even composting. Simply use a garden fork or whatever’s handy to upturn the heap into another compost area or bin, this mixes the materials and allows for better compost structure.
  5. Monitor Moisture Levels: Keep an eye on the moisture content of your compost. It should be damp, like a wrung-out sponge. Add water if it’s too dry or mix in dry leaves if it’s too wet.
  6. Be Patient: Composting takes time. Depending on the conditions and materials used, your homemade compost may take several months to a year to fully mature.
  7. Use Your Finished Compost: Once your compost is dark, crumbly, and earthy-smelling, it’s ready to use. Spread it on your garden beds to enrich the soil and nourish your plants naturally.

If you’re looking for a more convenient option, companies like ‘Hotbin‘ offer specialized composting bins designed to accelerate the composting process, producing usable compost in a few months. Consider exploring ‘Hotbin‘ for a faster and efficient composting solution while enjoying the benefits of homemade composting in your small garden.