The Home Composter

How to Compost

Compost safely

Which bin to choose?

Your compost ingredients

Empty your compost bin

To turn or not to turn?

How long to compost?

Worms & Wormeries

Topical Composting

Compost kitchen waste

Prickly prunings

Weeds and weeds

Too much grass

Leaves for Leafmould

Seasonal Tips


Unwelcome Guests

Leaflets to download


Composting demonstrated

How do I know when my compost is ready?

Take a look!

Compost that is ready to use in the garden should look dark brown and earthy. There should only be a few recognisable bits of twig.

If you have a plastic compost bin you need to look at the stuff at the BOTTOM of the heap. The material on top is fresh – you only put it in last week.
A Compostabin, Compost Converter or Ecomax is easy to lift up off the heap. See Emptying your compost bin.
If the compost bin has a hatch you can use that to look at the material at the bottom. Remember that the stuff closest to the hatch will be dry and will not therefore have rotted as well as the moister stuff at the back.

If your bin is held together with rods, pins or clips you will need to release one section so that you can look at the profile of the material.
Brown earthy stuff at the bottom will be ready to use.
You will need to pull out the unrotted material at the top of the pile so that you can harvest the finished compost at the bottom. Then refill the bin with the uncomposted material and start adding fresh compostables again.

If you compost on a 2 year cycle, for example using a New Zealand Box, then the bin that has been left for one whole year to decompose should be full of finished compost.
Remove any covering and, if there is dry, unrotted stuff on top, scrape it in to the bin you are currently filling.
Then start using your bin full of wonderful compost.

If you have inherited a compost bin and don’t know for how long its contents have been decomposing, take a look – you may get a lovely surprise and find a bin full of well rotted compost ready to go on the garden.
If you get a horrible surprise see Troubleshooting to help you solve the problem.

Use your home made compost for filling pots, dig in to the ground, or use as a mulch.

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 Recycle

Also try Zero Waste Scotland