Compost is something pretty much anyone with a garden – be it outside or on your windowsill – uses at some point. In the past we’ve spent £100+ in one go just on compost! Yet it’s one of the easiest things to make yourself.
Making your own compost is great for your wallet, especially if like us you grow veggies and flowers all around the garden. It’s also great for the environment too.
A lot of what we waste in the house is food, right? If you’re in a position to, you should be composting nearly all your organic waste. Food scraps and anything with the word “compostable” on it should go in the compost heap and not to a landfill.
Isn’t making compost complicated?
I’m by no means an expert on composting, and just to prove it I use the laziest way to compost and completely disregard any of the “hot or cold” advice. I don’t need my compost tomorrow, and as long as we put in the right stuff it’ll rot down regardless of what we do. I always think the best compost is always the stuff that just gets left alone.
This is our compost heap. It’s not pretty, and it’s not huge, but it works. We built the frame ourselves, and in years to come the frame will probably rot down too, as we haven’t treated it at all. The cardboard on the edges is mainly to keep the other stuff in, but it too will rot down eventually.
The bottom 5 inches were full of branches and brambles. My mum had recently cut down a bush and we cleared the branches and sticks from the garden. This gives it air from underneath, as is recommended. That’s about as far as we go with doing the “proper thing” with it though.
On top of that is grass clippings from both our garden and my mums, chicken manure and any other we end up with, old vegetables and fruit, cardboard, more grass and chicken bedding, and more. Pretty much anything organic and that will rot, goes in.
We don’t turn it either. We give it a poke now and again to see whats happening and to flatten it a bit to fit more in – we don’t want a Leaning Tower of Compost. That’s pretty much as far as it goes with that really.
Isn’t a compost pile smelly?
I think this is probably the number one thing I get asked. Our compost heap and veg patch is right by the bedroom window, so if we were going to smell it it’d be in there. Even with the heat this year – up to 38 degrees Celsius – we never smelt a thing.
I’m sure if you really stick your nose in, it’ll smell. At the end of it all, it’s a rotting pile of organic matter, so it’s likely to have a small whiff of something or other if you get close. But like I say, there was nothing in the bedroom and you couldn’t smell it when walking past.
Which is the right method?
Like I said above, I’m no expert. I have no idea about checking the temperature of the compost, nor about the levels of nitrogen and all the rest of it.
Our method is definitely the laziest way of doing it, and you can certainly put a lot more effort into it. There are some great sources online and in gardening books on how to “properly” make compost in your garden. Our way of doing it came about from not having 30 minutes to put aside each day to turn it all over like some advise. For one we have a lot more to do than just that, and I’m not strong enough to turn it once it gets to a certain height.
You can make your compost heap as complex or as simple as you want to. If you want your compost to be finished quicker than 18 months+, you’ll have to put more effort in. If you don’t really mind and aren’t bothered when your compost is finished, then you can take a much simpler approach.
What do you think about composting?