The Home Composter

How to compost

Compost safely

Emptying your bin

School Wormeries


Advice sheets

Too much grass


Leaves for Leafmould

Prickly prunings

To Turn or not to Turn?

Worms and Wormeries

Topical Composting

Composting demonstrated



Start warming up your cold, damp compost to get it ready for making potting mixes next month. Fill a bucket with fine compost and bring it in to a shed or the greenhouse. In a few weeks it will be warm and friable and ready for use in a potting mix. More on these mixes later!

rose pruningsPrickly prunings
Roses should be pruned this month, or at least when severe winter frosts are past. Pruning, followed by a sharp frost causes dieback. These prunings cannot be composted as the sharp prickles will take a very long time to rot down.
Practically everything in the garden can be recycled and that does include these prunings. You can make a pile in a discreet part of the garden and it will gradually rot down over several years. While this is happening, you will have a perfect shelter for wildlife. Toads and beetles will shelter there and they will help control garden pests. Birds will feed on all the insects that shelter in the pile.
Even better, make a ‘Dead Hedge’, again in a hidden part of the garden. Drive a line of wooden poles into the ground, about 45cm apart and to whatever length you’d like. Make another line 45 – 60cm from the first one. You then stuff the prunings between the lines of poles. If you can get hold of willow wands, weave them between the poles and end up with an attractive garden feature!
For more information about Dead Hedges, see our advice sheet, and to see a Dead Hedge, visit the composting area in the ASK Organic Garden [open 1 March – 31 October. An ASK Organic partner is usually in the Garden on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 11am and 4pm.]

Keep using your bin!
Plastic compost bins are designed to be used all the time. Just keep adding in new material and it will gradually rot down. Even if you have 2 bins, keep using them both, don’t leave one to rot down while using the other one. When you come to empty your bin, you take the bin off the heap, put it to one side and fork the unrotted material into the bin. By turning the rubbish like this, you inject air and this helps the composting process to work better. And don’t forget to take the good, finished compost off to the garden!


Composting problem?

Contact us  if you would like us to solve any composting problem.

Mr L. from Eyemouth asks: “Can I compost fish skin and bones?”. You shouldn’t put this into a compost bin as it will attract vermin and will soon smell. If you have an anaerobic composter, like a Greeen Cone or a Bokashi bucket, you can compost cooked food.

Other pages of the Home Composter's Topical Tips are:
January Home Composter - Recycling your Christmas decorations
March Home Composter - Making your own Potting Mixes
April Home Composter - Harvesting Last Year's Compost
May Home Composter - Weeds, weeds, weeds
June Home Composter - All about Grass
July Home Composter - Worms and Wormeries
August Home Composter - Your top 5 queries
September Home Composter - To Turn or not to Turn your Bin?
October Home Composter - Autumn Clearing

 Posted 30/01/2008


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