The Home Composter
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How to compost

Which bin to choose

Composting safely

Your compost ingredients

Emptying your bin

To Turn or not to Turn?

How long to compost?

Worms and Wormeries

Topical Composting

Kitchen waste

Prickly prunings

Weeds and weeds

Too much grass

Leaves for Leafmould

Seasonal Tips

Troubleshooting

Advice sheets
Unwelcome Guests

Using your compost

Spring is the best time to empty your compost bin and start using all the wonderful compost you have made.

How do you know that compost is ready to use?
Your compost may not be as finely rotted as the commercially produced growing mediums that come in sacks. If you have been putting in sticks, they will not have completely broken down. But if the bulk of the material at the bottom of the bin looks browny black and crumbly you have compost that you can use.

Checking compostabinIf you have one compost bin that you fill all year round, simply lifting the lid and looking inside will not tell you how much finished compost there is at the bottom.
So – if your bin has a hatch, open it up and look at the material at the bottom of the bin. This may be quite dry and not as well rotted as stuff further in so pull out a little and see if there is well rotted compost behind.
If you have a Compostabin without a hatch – take off the lid, give the bin a little wriggle from side to side and lift the whole bin up, like turning out a sandcastle. The heap will stay together and you will be able to see the different layers of compost, from fresh to partly rotted and finished.
If you have a plastic bin that is held together with poles, pull one half way up to allow you to swing the bottom half of a panel open. Have a look to see how well rotted the material is as the bottom.

If you have more than one composting unit, and you fill them in rotation, so that you leave a bin for a year or more to rot down, then you should be able to use the whole contents of that bin. It will normally take 18 months to 2 years for a whole bin to be properly composted. There may be a crust of less well rotted material on top of the rotted stuff, but scrape that off and put it into the bin you are currently filling.
Sieving home made compost
Home made compost can be used for:
Mulching round shrubs and fruit bushes.
Digging in to the soil to add fertility and improve soil structure.
Filling tubs and containers.
Making potting mixes. For more information and recipes go to DIY Potting Mixes.
Scattering over the lawn – if you feed your grass.

Make your garden happy – give it your home made compost.

Advantages of home made compost:
It is alive, containing countless beneficial micro-organisms that will help your plants to grow strongly and to fight off pests and diseases.
It has much more nutrient than commercial growing mediums so you will not
need to feed your pots and tubs so often.                                                                              Preparing potting compost
You know what you put into your compost bin so you will know what you are
putting on your garden.
And it’s free.

For more advice see Empty your Compost Bin.


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


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