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
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.
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
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
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
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
It has much more nutrient than commercial growing mediums so you
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
putting on your garden.
And its free.
For more advice see Empty
your Compost Bin.