Today I had a chat with Chris about compost heaps. It’s a topic that probably should be covered more especially as there are so many benefits to composting. Chris is a bit of a specialist at compost and I went across to his plot to see how he does his.
The key to successful composting is carefully selecting the right things to compost and to turn over the heap at regular intervals. No diseased plants or foliage should be put in as it will transfer the disease to other areas of your plot. Large branches or thick stalks are best burnt as these may takes years to fully decompose. As an added bonus, the heat given off by the decomposing process keeps the ground underneath clear of weeds.
As the heap gets dug over, you can remove the bottom (fully decomposed) layer. This is ready for use – some people prefer to riddle it before using it. Chris’s top tip is to make smaller compost heaps and keep moving them so that different areas of your plot are enriched from the base of the heap.
To enrich your compost heap further, you could add tiger worms. These are specialists in decomposition and are used in worm farms to create highly enriched liquid fertilizer and strong compost. If worms aren’t your cup of tea, add some cut comfrey leaves. This plant acts as a natural fertilizer when dug into the soil or left to rot in a potato trench.
Another alternative is to add chicken poo. It is extremely acidic and should not be used on plants until it has fully decomposed as it will burn the plants. Fully decomposed and mixed in with compost, it can provided an added boost to the soil. Soiled pet bedding can also be added although this will take longer to break down.
Our site is on a composting mission in an effort to reduce the amount of burning we do and to stop the rubbish pile getting any bigger. Building a compost heap or worm farm is easy and you will reap the benefits for years. So join us, and give it a go!