How To Make A Compost Bin

If you're a keen gardener and you're planning a makeover for your outside space, you could recycle much of the resultant organic rubbish into compost. Your homemade compost can be used to fertilise your plants and veggies, saving you the cost of an expensive mass-produced product.

If you don't fancy building a compost heap, you could hire a small skip bin for your compost instead.

Here's how to make compost in a small skip bin.

Making compost

You can use pretty much any organic garden material to make compost. Avoid meat and other cooked products from your kitchen, as these can attract vermin and flies.

If you have citrus trees in your garden, add the foliage to the compost bin but not the fruit. Citrus rind rots very slowly and the acidity in the fruit can be harmful to microbes in the soil and compost.

As you clear your garden, add all your trimmings and clippings to the skip bin. If possible, cut everything into small pieces so that it rots down quickly. Tree prunings and bits of wood should be shredded if possible, so that they break down quickly.

Add plenty of soil to the compost. Don't worry if worms are imported accidentally; they will work to break down the soil and decomposing matter, helping to make the compost.

In addition to greenery and soil, you will need to add straw, cardboard, or wood shavings to the compost. These additions keep the compost balanced and make sure that the nitrogen content is not too high. You can add paper too, but don't use glossy magazines as they don't rot well and the colours contain chemicals that could be harmful to your plants.

When you've finished clearing your garden, place a piece of old carpet on top of the waste in the skip bin to keep it warm and encourage decomposition. Choose a skip bin with a pest-proof lid so that you can lock it to keep curious wildlife out.

Maintaining the compost bin

Add suitable waste to the compost bin each time you tidy your garden. Use a garden fork to turn the compost, moving the outside material to the inside and ensuring that plenty of air is circulated throughout the bin.

The finished compost should be ready for use in around six months. The compost should smell slightly sweet and should have a soft, crumbly consistency. For a finer consistency, push the compost through a gardener's sieve.