Compostables
Kitchen waste set aside for home composting

I’m a firm believer in composting. In the years in which I haven’t really had a garden, I have mourned the loss of valuable resources as I sent my compostables off in the municipal collections.

Making your own compost is a wonderful way of feeding your garden. Closing the circle, turning a waste product into something useful, and saving money into the bargain.


Secret heap
A stealthy compost bin, hiding behind a tree

One of the things I have done this year, in my new garden, is set up a compost bin. It’s not in an ideal location – it’s not close to the house, so I have to make an effort to go out there. And it’s currently in the shade, although the removal of an unwanted conifer will soon sort that out.

And so I am, once again, collecting up compostables in a separate pail. Vegetable scraps, tea bags and cardboard tubes for the most part. Cardboard tubes (or scrunched up newspaper, or corrugated cardboard) are a valuable addition to the heap. Not only are they carbon-rich, balancing out an excess of nitrogen-rich kitchen scraps or grass cuttings), but their shape adds air to the heap. Composting bacteria need oxygen, just like us.


Cold composting
The current contents of my cold compost bin

Wearing my Master Composter hat, I went to London recently to join Alys Fowler and Jane Perrone for a chat about composting. You can hear the result in the latest episode of Sow, Grow, Repeat, the Guardian gardening podcast.

Did they leave in the bit where Alys talks about composting her pants? You’ll have to listen in to find out!


I do CAT cold composting where I add a mixture of materials to my heap as and when I have them. It may take longer to rot down, but it’s a lot less effort than looking after a ‘hot’ heap 😉