Over the last 3 years I have reignited a love affair with my garden and there is no place I would rather be than weeding my vegetable patch or planting seedlings in my poly tunnel. Even my whippet Isla likes being in there with me.
I think Alice Walker said it correctly when she said
“ Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul”
When we nurture other people or nature we nurture ourselves.
Making my own compost was something I have been exploring more recently as the cost of buying it soon adds up and it is always sold in plastic.
Obviously to have a compost heap or think about having one you need to have a bit of space you can put one, that is the first thing. Secondly you need plants or flower beds that can benefit from it.
If you are lucky enough to have both then you will get a lot of joy from creating and nurturing your own compost. Not only does it save you money, it provides a great place for wildlife to thrive in your garden (see my slow-worm!) and allows you to recycle waste into something more useful, which is one more small step towards creating a better future for the planet and ourselves.
Although I am still a novice myself I am learning a few things a long the way.
The key things I have been advised to remember with a compost heap is that it can be very tempting to put all your grass cuttings on there but for the best compost, you want equal amount of brown compost materials and green compost materials.
This is because the microbes responsible for the breakdown of your compost heap require a balanced diet of nitrogen (green compost) and carbon (brown compost) .
Things I have happily added to my compost heap which you might not consider are torn up newspapers and tea or coffee grounds.
Whilst ash from my wood burner is nutritious, I tend to put it on my flower beds rather than my compost pile as it can affect the ph. of the pile and make it too alkali where as the bacteria prefer neutral to acidic conditions.
Whilst you can buy ready made plastic compost bins I encourage you to recycle some wood or pallets and make your own. There are numerous designs online to choose from.
Avoid adding diseased plants or plants that have been treated with chemical pesticides as well as wood shavings which can take a long time to decay and lock up soil nitrogen.
Good for the compost:
- Fruit and vegetable scraps – although if the fruit or vegetable is not native to the UK some gardeners don’t add it in
- Coffee grounds and tea bags/leaves
- Fresh grass clippings
- Plant trimmings
- Dry leaves
- Straw or hay
- Paper shreddings
Remember the smaller the pieces of the material you add to your compost the quicker it will break down.
And now you can add our Vincotte certified home compostable inner muesli bags to your heap (when you have finished eating your muesli and have given your bag extra life using it for some of the ideas we have written about in our “How to use your inner bag for other things” blog post).