What is garden compost?
Compost looks like rich, dark soil. It is made of recycled kitchen and garden waste. It is used to feed and condition the soil and in making potting mixes.
Is it the same as multipurpose compost?
No. Sowing, potting and multipurpose composts that you buy in garden centres are mixtures of various materials such as sand, coir and fertilisers. These are used for raising seedlings and growing plants in pots.
Do I have to be an expert to make compost?
No. Composting just happens – it is nature’s way of keeping our planet clean. Just follow the few basic rules in this guide.
Is it a lot of work?
Making compost can be as easy as putting a few weeds and vegetable scraps onto a compost heap – or you can put a lot of effort into it. It’s up to you.
How long does it take?
Compost can be made in six to eight weeks, or it can take a year or more. In general, the more effort you put in, the quicker you will get compost.
Will a compost heap breed pests?
Compost is made by a host of small and microscopic creatures. These are not pests and will not overrun your garden.
Do I need any special equipment?
A garden fork is the only essential item. A compost bin keeps everything neater but it is not essential.
Will a compost heap attract rats?
Rats may visit a compost heap if they are already present in the area.
Is compost safe to handle?
Yes, if the usual garden hygiene rules are followed. Keep cuts covered, wash hands before eating and keep your anti-tetanus protection up to date.
Does a compost heap have to get hot?
No. A medium-sized compost heap can heat up to 70°C in a few days. The heat helps to make quicker compost, and to kill weeds and diseases. But your compost may never heat up, especially if it is made over a long period. The compost can be just as good, but it will take longer to be ready for use.
Does compost spread weeds and diseases?
Some weed seeds and plant diseases will survive in a slow, cool compost heap – if you add them in the first place.
Do I need a shredder to make compost?
No. A shredder can be very useful where there is a lot of woody material to be composted, but it is not essential.