Wednesday, 20 November 2013


I spent the past weekend putting a nice layer of garden compost on my raised beds. As vegetables grow, the plants take nutrients from the soil, so it is important every autumn to add garden compost which provides organic matter to return the nutrients and improve your soil for the growing season ahead. Compost is decomposed kitchen and garden waste, including teabags, coffee grains, eggshells, old potting compost, cardboard, shredded paper and grass clippings. You can make homemade garden compost by simply heaping the materials up in a corner, using a plastic compost bin or for the more hardcore composter there are timber compost bins or bays.

Construction of composting bays generally form three bays that are open fronted, one bay is for putting new material in to break down, one bay for material in a more advanced state of break down and the last bay is allowed to turn into compost. The material should be turned and often one bay is turned into the other using a fork. However I have constructed two bays, firstly due to space limitations, secondly due to availability of construction materials to hand and finally it is a progression from what I had when I started composting which was one bay (a compost heap surrounded by old timber pallets).

My two bays are constructed from reclaimed, recycled timber, namely from the four timber pallets surrounding my old compost heap. I fill one bay completely, and as much as I like to think that I turn this occasionally, I probably don't, leaving it to cold compost a method which can take up to six months or more. But I am in no hurry and this works for me. When the first bay is full I start filling the second. With the two bays side by side, one pile can rot down and be used in the garden while the other is being built up. If you grow vegetables you should make compost, not only will it be great for your soil but it will also considerably reduce the waste that would otherwise go out in your green bin which costs you money.

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