Dec 31 2011

Home composting for 2012

Now that we’re right on the cusp of 2012, maybe this is the year to think about making your own compost, rather than letting your council take away a brown bin full of food scraps each week.  In Harrow, we have a weekly collection of the brown bin, which contains everything you need to make an excellent soil conditioner for your garden.

It’s free, and it’s a great way to make use of your kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable peelings.  Did you know that 40% of houshold waste can be recycled?

Put your composter in the garden on bare soil, not paving or decking. It should be somewhere that is easy to get to all year round.
Add your garden trimmings, dead flowers etc. to your composter as they become available. Ideally, you should have a mix of ‘green’ and ‘brown’ materials like grass cuttings which won’t successfully compost on their own. Browns are harder, drier materials. Try to add equal volumes of both types.
Your compost is ready when it is dark in colour and has an earthy smell. This can take from 6 to 18 months depending on the materials used and the time of year. The finished compost will appear at the bottom of your heap. Remove this to use on your garden: Using a fork, simply dig it into the top 15cm of the soil or just spread it to cover the soil. You can also use your compost to feed your lawn or to top up tubs, planters and baskets.
If some of the materials have not finished composting, simply put them back into your composter. When you add new materials they will help keep the composting process going.
What to compost:
  • Shredded paper and torn card
  • Rabbit/guinea pig bedding
  • Dead cut flowers
  • Soft hedge clippings
  • Fallen leaves
  • Grass cuttings
  • Weeds (avoid persistent weeds and weeds in seed)
  • Old plants
Harrow Council will no longer provide home composters free of charge to households within Harrow, but have negotiated discounts with getcomposting.com. You can go straight to the Harrow site, here to place your order. Prices start at £15 for a 200 litre bin.
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