Creating a compost heap

Creating a compost heap
    Artist John Bird has taken recycled gardening to a new level, building an eco-shed in his garden that conserves resources, waters his plants and provides enough space for him to paint and make music. It's not surprising he won Shed of the Year.

Not all of us have such lofty ambitions, however – or the time and energy to spend on projects like Mr Bird's. If you're looking to recycle while you garden on a smaller scale, creating a compost heap is a great first step.

Writing in the Express, Alan Titchmarsh says making a compost heap is a great way of recycling and economising. 

"Instead of buying bags of soil improver to dig into the ground, invest just a few pounds in a cheap compost bin or make your own compost container by nailing a few old pallets together," he advises.

"Then use this to dispose of all the green organic waste that your garden generates over the season."

You can use all kinds of different materials for your compost heap. Garden waste, such as annual weeds, soft hedge trimmings and grass clippings can all be used.

Household waste is also an excellent source: fruit and vegetables from the kitchen are an obvious choice, but you can also use shredded paper and litter from vegetarian pets.

Material should be added in layers no more than six inches deep, pressed down and thoroughly dampened. When your container is full, cover the top with a layer of soil then leave it alone. After six months, it will be ready to use.

When creating your heap, you should aim for between 25 and 50 per cent green materials, with the remainder made up of brown substances.

Make sure you choose a shady spot for the heap, avoiding temperature extremes. You should also turn it regularly to introduce air.

As the Royal Horticultural Society points out, composting is useful even if your council offers a green waste collection, as it doesn't involve heavy transport. If you don't have a compost heap already, now's as good a time as any to get started.

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