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A. Hill & Sons' Definitive Guide to Composting

This time of year is perfect to start a compost heap, you’ll have lots of garden waste as you clear up ready for winter and you could have some nutritious, organic compost to use as early as next spring.

Here at A. Hill & Sons we’ve got our expert gardeners together a compiled your “Definitive Guide to Composting”

The Position and Container

Possibly the most important decision you’ll make during your composting process is the container in which to create your heap and where to put it – this part can quite literally make or break your compost.

It’s important that the site is not subject to temperature or moisture extremities – the microorganisms that transform the waste into compost work best in consistent conditions.

Your container should really be larger than 1 cubic metre and you can either choose a bin or an open heap. Enclosed bins tend to complete the process quicker but heaps will compost eventually.

Most compost bins on the market will do the job, they just need to exclude rain, allow drainage and retain some warmth.

Composting Materials

Aim for ¼ - ½ of soft green materials and the rest needs to be woody brown material.

Turning the Heap

Anyone that’s read up on composting will have heard the expression ‘turning the heap’, essentially, you are adding air. Ideally, turn the heap once a month after you’ve added a large amount of material in order to introduce it properly.

Turning the heap can reduce problems such as compaction and moisture retention. You can turn the heap using a fork or shovel – simply place it in your pile and keep turning it over until you feel you have aerated it enough.

When will the Compost be Ready?

This is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions – composting can take anything from 6 months to 2 years. Here’s how you can tell your compost is ready according to the RHS: “Mature compost will be dark brown, with a crumbly soil-like texture and a smell resembling damp woodland.”

So there you have our ‘Definitive Guide to Composting’ – we wish you the best of luck!