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How to create your own compost heap

Want to go green at home and build your own compost heap? Cheers to that! Has there ever been a better time to do such a task? With all of us retreating to the safety of our homes these next few weeks, why not get going on a productive and rewarding task like this? Setting up the ‘station’ and filling it with waste is one thing, but creating high-quality compost is a whole other ball game.

Follow these tips to create an effective and fully functioning compost heap in your backyard. When you need a break and a coffee, browse our selection of premium winter bulbs online.

Build a compost heap in 5 simple steps:

1. Find a location in your garden

When picking a spot, make sure it is out of sight (compost isn’t the prettiest or sweetest smelling), easily accessible, and close to a water source (i.e. a hose). You will need to visit the pile frequently to maintain and water it, so choose the spot wisely. 

2. Skirt off the section

Before getting down and dirty, corner off your chosen spot in the garden with wooden stakes and slats so that the pile remains in one place, and builds upwards, rather than outwards. You can make your compost heap as big as you like, but about two metres by two metres should do the trick. Just remember to leave a small section open in the wooden border so you can get through to shovel the pile at a later stage.

3. Start layering the materials

Now for the fun part! It’s time to get layering. For your first layer of material, add the carbon elements. These can be hay, straw, leaves, sawdust, small twigs, and corn cobs chopped up. The next layer is the nitrogen one. You can add some fertiliser, manure, vegetable waste, grass clippings, and debris from your garden – these things will attract microbial organisms and help with the composting process. Last but not least, the third and final layer (for now). This layer is your topsoil. You’ll want to use soil that is more ‘natural’ – the untreated, pesticide-free kind, like Pokon Potting Soil, as it will help with the organic microbial process.

Once you’ve finished with these layers, you can repeat the process whenever you want to add to the heap. Just be sure to add bits of twigs and coarser materials on top before you start the next round to ensure adequate aeration of the compost heap. By this stage, microbial organisms should be making their way to your pile to instigate the decay process. 

4. Stir the pile

Using a spade or a pitchfork, mix the compost heap by shovelling material in the centre in an outward direction and the material around the edges in an inward direction. This ‘stirring’ process will ensure that your compost heap decomposes evenly.   

5. Maintain your compost heap

Now that you’ve got your compost heap, all you have to do is maintain it by adding more organic material, like fertiliser and topsoil every now and then. Just be sure to keep an eye on the moisture levels of the pile, as a dry heap will not decay, and a soaking wet one will be inhabitable for microbes. You should water your compost heap and stir it every four to six weeks, depending on how often you add new layers, and how hot the weather is at any given time. After about four months, your compost heap should be ready for action!

Do you want to make your own compost heap?

If you want to use this extra time at home to make a compost heap in your back garden, keep these helpful tips on-hand. And if you’ve got a functional compost heap already that you want to make use of, keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages and subscribe to our email list for the latest information about our flower bulb delivery schedules.

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