How to make compost
Of course, you can buy your compost readymade, but homemade compost contains many more nutrients, giving your fruit, veg and flowers the best chance to grow. Want to know how to make compost? We’re going to tell you how you can make it yourself by putting that overflowing household veg bin to use!
What do you need to make compost?
You’d be pleased to know, there’s not a lot you need when it comes to making compost, but you’ll have to leave your food and garden waste to decompose for at least six months until you produce compost.
There are a few different ways to compost; you can either go for a compost bin, or if you have the space, you can dedicate a corner of your garden to a compost heap. Whichever you choose, you’ll probably need some of the following things.
Composter – We have a great value compost bin available online that is durable, affordable and believe it or not, stylish! We also have a bigger, more rustic style composter. But if you’re looking for something a little less permanent, you could try a composter bag.
Compostable liners – Make composting as convenient as possible with these handy liners that not only help keep your kitchen caddy clean but are also 100% biodegradable. Designed to be thrown straight into your compost bin.
Gardening fork – Essential for giving your compost a good prod and of course to use on your beds and borders. From easy-grips to long handles, we’ve got a wide selection of forks to get you inspired. Our recommended product for turning the material is our wilko carbon steel digging fork, made from tough and durable carbon steel.
Where to put the compost
Once you’ve decided on your composting option, it’s time to think about where to pop your composter or compost patch.
Avoid places that get extremes of temperature and moisture as the natural bacteria and fungi that are working to turn your waste into compost work best in constant conditions. Aim for light shade or shade, you might find an unused bit of shade in your garden is ideal.
It’s best to place your composter on soil as it will allow drainage and access to organisms from the soil, but if you have no choice but to sit your compost bin on a hard surface, then it’s a great idea to add some soil to the bottom before you start.
Bins vs. heaps? Bins retain some warmth and moisture and make better compost quicker, but even an open heap (not enclosed in a bin) will compost eventually. Most compost bins should produce compost as long as they exclude rain, retain some warmth, allow drainage and let in air.
What goes in a composter?
Now it’s time to think about what can go in your composter. Believe it or not, it’s not as simple as throwing in all of your food leftovers, as some foods won’t decompose well.
From the house:
- vegetable peelings
- scraps of fruit
- salad leaves
- old flowers
- cardboard (e.g. loo roll tubes, cereal boxes etc)
- wool materials
From the garden:
- grass cuttings
- twigs (break these into small pieces to aid the process)
- old plants
What doesn’t go in a composter?
- doggy poop and cat litter
- citrus fruit peelings
- leftover meat or fish
- diseased plants
- perennial weeds
- dairy products
- synthetic fabrics
When is the compost ready?
Garden compost can take between six months and two years before it’s ready to be used to top up your soil and pop into plant pots. You’ll know when compost is ready once it’s dark brown, with a soil-like texture that crumbles in your hand. Get your nose involved too! Compost should smell like damp earth.
We have a special kit which will help speed up the process – the wilko compost maker is specially formulated to help speed up the natural composting process, promoting the production of rich compost.
What to do when compost is ready?
There are lots of ways to use your finished compost. Mix some mature compost into your flower beds before potting flowers or sprinkle it on top of soil to give your flowers some extra nutrients. You can also add it to indoor plants to revitalise your flowers.
Want to grow veggies? Mature compost can be used to grow your seedlings and it can be mixed in with the soil in your planned-out veggie patch. It’ll give your seeds, plants and bulbs the perfect start and help to produce a healthy crop.
Compost can also be used to revitalise your lawn. Sprinkle it over your lawn and gently rake it through. It’ll help restore much-needed nutrients to your soil and produce luscious green grass.