Can I compost in a small garden?

Unless you own a small holding the majority of gardeners own a relatively average size garden and if you have made it to the top of the allotment list you may have a separate vegetable plot.  With limited space finding room to grow vegetables is difficult enough without having to find a space for an unsightly compost heap.

But as some local councils are charging for green waste collection it is well worth recycling your garden waste and kitchen scraps at home.  As well as saving you money on collection charges recycling through your local council scheme or private firm isn’t as green as you may think.  The vehicles that collect it and the machines that turn it both increase the carbon footprint, by having a compost bin in the garden  you avoid these carbon emissions.

I understand a compost bin looks quite ugly and may not fit in with your garden scheme but if all you have are fruit and veg peelings and plant waste from trimming or deadheading you can simply bury this in the garden.  Dig a hole about 30cm deep, half fill with waste and cover it back over.  The waste will gradually decompose enriching your soil with valuable nutrients.  It really is that easy and in the summer months the waste will decompose after about 6-8 weeks. In the winter it can take several months so continue digging holes and filling with waste and in the spring just turn it over and rake it in when you do your weeding.

Hungry and thirsty crops like your potatoes, beans and courgettes also benefit from added green waste.  I remember my Dad talking about how my Grandad would always spend a couple of months prior to planting his beans, filling a trench.  So he would dig the trench, keep filling with green waste, turn the soil back in and plant his beans, he never had a bad crop!

If you do go down the route of a compost bin, it doesn’t need to be unsightly you can get the in all shapes and sizes depending on what you are willing to spend or if you have access to a pallet or two build a lovely wooden one.  It doesn’t need a prime location, somewhere in partial shade so the heat from the sun speeds up the process without drying it out.

Another option is a wormery. You put in your food scraps, the worms digest them and produce compost and a rich liquid fertiliser or for free! The added advantage is worms can break down your fresh scraps in as little as 2-3 weeks.  You will need to put it in a shady corner because too much heat will kill off your worms, in the winter put in a shed or garage. 

With a little bit of imagination you can create rich and fertile compost no matter what size of plot you have saving you pounds on council collection.


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