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How to Compost Garden Waste

With many of us aware of our footprint on this planet nowadays, creating a garden compost bin to compost our garden waste has become a popular gardening task. But with many people not knowing where to start, it’s often a task which gets put on the backburner. However, if you do put in the time and effort to create a compost heap, you will be able to create something worthwhile out of your garden waste. 

How do you start a compost bin?

To start a compost bin, you’ll need an actual compost bin in the first place. You can either buy one or create one out of wooden or concrete posts and using either wire netting or nailing planks around the edges to enclose it. Some councils also offer subsidised compost bins as part of their waste and recycling schemes.

You should ideally start your compost bin in the spring, as a glut of autumn leaves will decompose very slowly (you may be better using your autumn leaves to make leaf mould) but if you can’t wait until then, make sure you balance any autumn leaves with a mixture of other materials. 

What waste can be composted?

The most important thing to remember when it comes to your garden compost bin is to get the mixture right. This means keeping your ‘greens’ and ‘browns’ balanced properly.

The greens – which include grass clippings, hedge clippings, lawn and garden weeds (but not those with seed heads) and vegetable plants, amongst other things - are nitrogen rich and the browns – dry leaves, straw and hay, pine needles and cones, wood ash and dry leaves, for example - are carbon rich. Getting the balance right is important: if your compost is too dry, add some greens, and if it’s too wet, add some browns.

You can also add kitchen scraps if you so wish (handy if your local authority doesn’t collect food waste), but don’t be tempted to add meat or dairy products unless you add a specialist digester, as these will attract pests and create unwanted smells. Food scraps that can go in include tea leaves and coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, fruit cores, egg shells and corn cobs and stalks. 

How do you compost garden waste?

Aside from adding to your compost bin at regular intervals, any good composter should turn their garden compost at regular intervals, too. This will add air to the mixture to help with the composting process. A simple way of recreating these air pockets is to add scrunched up pieces of cardboard to your heap, which will create pockets to keep your compost bin healthy. You may also wish to add water – or more green waste – if your compost heap is looking too dry. 

How long does garden waste take to compost?

When it comes to home compost in garden settings, how long it takes to break down really depends on various conditions. If you turn your compost bin regularly and in warm conditions, your garden compost could be ready in as little as two to four months. However, a heap which is left unattended and uses bulkier or unshredded material could take over a year to fully decompose.

You can also speed up the process by adding a compost accelerator. This is a solution which is added into water and poured onto the compost heap to create good quality compost within about half the time that it would usually take. 

Why compost garden waste?

The main reasons for composting garden waste are environmental. It saves money and resources, and home composting can save the equivalent in global warming gases as all the CO2 your kettle produces within a year. 

If you include food waste in your compost bin, then it also saves on food waste being sent to landfill. 

Need help with your compost bin?

As experts in landscape gardening, we have had plenty of experience in setting up compost bins for our clients. We can also use our landscape gardening ideas to site your compost bin in such a way that it doesn’t detract from or become unsightly within the rest of your garden. 

Get in touch today to see how D&G Garden World can help you with your garden compost across gardens in Upminster, Brentwood and Hornchurch.