Composting is a fantastic way to recycle kitchen and garden waste, not only does it enrich your soil but it helps it to retain water.
Your compost pile can also be a great home for wildlife throughout the summer months. This includes Grass Snakes which will use the compost heap to incubate eggs. Grass Snakes are on the priority list for species conservation here in the UK.
The ideal spot for your compost site or bin would be in a sunny spot on top of bare soil. You will need enough space to around your site to add waste and remove compost. If you are recycling large amounts of garden material wheelbarrow access would be beneficial. It takes 6 to 12 months for your compost to decompose ready for use, turning the heap will help the air to flow and prevent the pile from becoming too wet. However do not let the heap dry out in warm weather. This is not necessary with a Compost Bin as it acts an insulator and prevents evaporation. You will know when it is ready to use when you have a dark, moist, thick soil. The compost will give off an earthy aroma and will crumble between your fingers.
Getting the right mix of materials will help to improve the quality and efficiency of your compost. The microbes in the soil require a 50/50 mix of Green waste to produce Nitrogen and Brown waste for carbon. So what should you add?
Crushed Egg Shells
Straw or Hay (bedding from vegetarian animals)
Toilet Roll Tubes
Tumble Dryer Lint
Do NOT Compost:
Items that may contain pesticide residue