The Home Composter

How to Compost

Compost safely

Your compost ingredients

Empty your compost bin

To turn or not to turn?

How long to compost?

Worms & Wormeries

Seasonal Tips

Compost kitchen waste

Prickly prunings

Weeds and weeds

Too much grass

Leaves for Leafmould


Unwelcome Guests


Composting demonstrated



If you have problems dealing with your garden waste, consider producing less.

Solve the problem by producing less waste in the first place and reusing or recycling more efficiently the waste that you still have.

no waste gardenTry choosing different types of plants for your garden:
Make sure the plants you buy are hardy and suitable for your garden Ė then you wonít have a dead plant to dispose of.
Grow mostly perennial plants that will last for many years.
Choose species that have attractive seed heads so that you can leave them standing during the autumn and early winter. By the end of the winter the foliage will have rotted leaving only the stems to dispose of.
Choose small and low growing shrubs and trees so you donít have lots to cut back every year.
Grow climbing roses that need little pruning rather hybrid teas that need lots.

Compost or recycle almost everything that comes out of the garden within the garden Ė providing you have the space.
Hereís how to recycle some of the problem materials:

Spent compost that has already grown a crop in a pot or grobag can be layered with kitchen waste and compost activator to reintroduce nutrients and structure. see Composting in a Bag. Leave he bag/s in a shed or garage to rot down.
This will also deal with kitchen waste
Use woody prunings as plant supports:
Support unruly herbaceous plants with twiggy branches control
Use straight sticks instead of bamboo canes
Use pliable sticks to weave into sweet pea frames or for low growing clematis to scramble over.
Use some prunings as kindling or burn in a cheminea
But try to prune appropriate trees and shrubs in the summer when the twigs are still green and easy to compost or shred.
Use your mower as a shredder to reduce the volume of twiggy stuff.

Awkward and prickly prunings can go in a dead hedge Ė an ideal wildlife shelter.

Use grass mowings as a mulch or to make a hotbed.
Try not to produce so many grass clippings in the first place:
Cut the grass twice a week without the grass box on. The tiny amount of grass you are cutting off will quickly rot back in to the lawn thereby feeding the grass. (This is a tip from Eddie Seward who has spent 27 years in charge of the Wimbledon grass courts.)
Because you donít have to empty the grass box this is not much slower than walking round the garden.
Donít fertilise your lawn Ė if it produces too much grass donít encourage it to produce even more.

Or leave parts of the lawn to grow long as a wildlife habitat. Strim and rake off the long growth in the autumn but otherwise leave it alone. You can add plugs or pots of wild flowers for colour.

Bag autumn leaves and leave behind a shed to gradually turn in to leafmould which can be used as a mulch or part of a potting mix.
Using your own compost means buying less so having less to dispose of.

Drown or stew weeds to recycle the fertility they have taken from your garden.
Home-made liquid feeds are less likely to encourage soft, sappy growth that attracts pests and diseases.
But hoeing early in dry weather will mean annual weeds can be left on the soil.

Use all sorts of garden waste to make a wildlife shelter.
Logs or stones piled up in an undisturbed corner provide hibernation sites for toads, spiders and beetles
Hollow stems bundled together make insect shelters.
See Composting for Wildlife

Other seasonal tips you might find useful:
Recycle your Christmas decorations and use them in the garden.
Composting in the snow
Warm up your compost in the spring
Using your compost - make the most of your composting efforts
Use your compost in spring
Making your own compost mixes
Dealing with the Autumn Clearing - shredding and more
Is your compost slimy and smelly? - solve the problem.
Restarting your home compost bin in the spring.
Making the most of your compost bin in summer.
Composting in autumn means dealing with heaps of leaves and piles of prunings
Winter Composting - What to do when your home compost bin is working too slowly
Solve the problem of a cold, stuck compost bin.
Make your own liquid feeds from comfrey and nettles
Composting lawn clippings that have been treated with herbicide
Composting in a Bag - how to get rid of kitchen waste and revive spent compost
How to compost sawdust, wood shavings and bark
Composting for Wildlife
Minimise your garden waste

Composting problem?
 Contact us if you would like us to answer your query. We'll try to give a helpful answer!

This page is sponsored by Scottish Borders Councilsbc logo

More information about recycling can be found on :
 Scottish Borders Council Reduce Reuse Recyclewaste aware logo

IAlso try Zero Waste Scotland