1. Compost bins now come in all shapes to suit small or large spaces. See if your local council is offering a deal on bins to encourage greener habits, many do.
2. A mix of fresh green garden waste and dry, brown matter is ideal. Put a layer of woody garden refuse on the bottom to create good airflow, then where possible, layer different waste.
3. The soft, green garden waste is nitrogen-rich and the dry brown waste is more carbon-rich – both ideal for developing good compost.
4. If you have too much dry matter, a light watering will help it to decompose more quickly.
5. Break up larger leaves or shred them, as this will speed up the process, too.
6. In autumn, if you add too many dry old leaves to the compost this might slow your composting progress – instead put leaves in plastic bags, add a little water for moisture and puncture a few holes in the bags for air, then tie up and store until the following year, when you will have crumbly leaf mould to use as plant feed.
7. Don’t put any cooked food waste in your compost (it attracts vermin), only uncooked vegetable matter, used tealeaves and coffee grinds.
8. Turn the compost every couple of weeks with a fork.
9. Compost heats up once the decomposition process begins. It will cool again but you can speed up the composting by turning more regularly.
10. The natural processes active in your compost heap creates a lot of heat and can pose a slim fire risk. Avoid positioning your heap near a shed, fences or buildings, and make sure you monitor it, especially during periods of warmer weather.
Tip If you are getting rid of diseased plants, consider whether or not the disease is a problem that only spreads on living plants (e.g. potato blight), if so, then it’s fine to throw these plants on your compost.