Gardening > Organic Compost Heap

Hot to build your own organic compost heap:

1/ The best time to build a compost heap is between Spring and late Summer.

2/ Anything organic can be used. Vegetable peelings, old wool, old cotton material, stinging nettles, old stems and leaves from the vegetable garden. Make sure that anything large, woody or fibrous is chopped up well.

3/ To start off the decomposition a nitrogenous activator is needed. Manure or diluted urine (4 buckets of water to 1 bucket of urine) are very good. Effective herbal activators can be bought.

4/ Build the heap on cultivated ground so that worms can have easy access to the heap and help the composting process.

5/ Mix your chosen activator with the compost material before building the heap.

6/ Lay some prunings, brushwood or drainage tiles at the base of your heap so that air can circulate freely.

7/ The heap should not be more than 6 feet high or 6 feet wide but can be as long as is necessary for your garden space and composting needs.

8/ Keeping your sides square and straight, begin to build the heap from the outside inwards, making sure that you do not make any thick layers of grass clippings which will hold up the process. Throw in the odd handful of lime or ash as you build up the layers. This will prevent too much acidity which also slows down decomposition.

9/ Lay an old piece of carpet, cardboard or polythene over the top of the heap for insulation.

10/ The heap should reach its maximum temperature (75 degrees centigrade) in about six days. The compost should be usable in about 3 months.