How to make your own compost

If food waste is eating you up, give composting a go. You’ll be doing your bit for the planet, and giving your garden a treat too.

The compost will be ready to use as a free fertiliser on plants and flowers after nine to twelve months and, if it helps you to grow your own fruit and veg, you’ll be saving even more. Composting is easy for everyone. Just follow these basic rules:

Bin there, done it

Buy yourself a cheap compost bin and ideally place it on soil in a sunny spot. Speak to your local council as some actually give free or low-cost composters eg. in Sutton or look on Gumtree or eBay where you can bag yourself a second-hand bin for less than a tenner. If you’re worried about mice and rats, dig an inch-deep hole to the same diameter as your bin and put a layer of fine mesh in the hole with the bin on top.

Recipe for rotting

Composting couldn’t be easier. Simply put your kitchen waste in the compost bin! Aim for a 50/50 mix of material that rots quickly and slowly. Fast rotters, which boost all-important nitrogen and moisture, include fruit and veg peelings, droopy flowers, tea bags and coffee grounds, grass cuttings and garden weeds. Mix these with things that decompose more slowly like eggshells, shredded cardboard, cotton wool, fallen leaves and nuts. These provide carbon, fibre and create pockets of air.

What rot!

Don’t believe you can compost your hair? Actually those strands you pull from your brush are brilliant to add to your compost bin. Along with other unusual items including used kitchen roll, natural wine corks, and paper bags, amazingly hair is a super slow rotter.

The rot-nots

Not all food is suitable for composting. Steer clear of bones, bread, meat and fish scraps and dog food so that you don’t attract treat-seeking rats and foxes. For a full list of what to avoid go to Recyclenow.

Who’s the caddy?

Make it easier on yourself by putting your bin somewhere relatively accessible. If it’s down the bottom of the garden, it’s easy to forget it’s there. Use a caddy in the kitchen then empty it in to the bin when it fills up.

Add a hefty dose of patience

It takes nine to twelve months for your food waste to turn into the thick, dark compost that you can use on your garden. Open the hatch at the bottom of your compost bin, scoop it out, and spread on your veg patch, borders, grass and patio pots. Keep adding food waste on top so that you keep on composting.