A Beginner’s Guide to Composting

Why and How to Compost 

If you haven't got a composter, then act now. If you already have one, then get yourself another. Compost heaps are the heartbeat of your garden and there are ways to get the best from your compost corner. 

So, don't delay and compost today

a wheelbarrow full of compost with a compost sign in the background


What is Compost? 

There are two types of compost. 

The first lot is the stuff you buy in bags from garden retailers. It’s perfect for seeds and potting on plants. 

The second type of compost, and the beautiful organic matter we will focus on, is homemade from your own green waste and is packed with nutrients, microflora, fauna and organic matter. 

It is vital to the success of your garden. 

3 compost bins


What is Compost Used For? 

Homemade compost is the best soil improver. Dig it into the soil, add it to planting holes and use it as a mulch, or thick covering, on the surface of the soil. Your plants will grow better for it. 

a compost bin full of garden waste


Why is Homemade Best? 

Compost made from your own green waste contains your garden’s unique population of garden bacteria, fungi and bits and bobs. You know exactly what has gone into the compost and it uses the waste you would otherwise bung into the green bin. It’s a compelling argument to set up a compost bin! 

a garden fork in a full compost bin


Is it Easy to Make Compost? 

Yep! Get yourself a compost bin and start to fill it with green waste from your garden. If you put everything in together the heap will eventually turn into compost. It might stink in the process but one day you will get compost. It’s that simple. 

a woman adding garden waste to a composter


Tips for Making Top-quality, Smell-free Compost Quicker: 

  • Ensure you use a mix of different green wastes, i.e. don't just pile in grass cuttings.
  • Add shredded or ripped up cardboard. Use 50% cardboard to 50% green leafy material. Mix it.
  • Cut all green material into smaller pieces. Shred woody twigs to help the composting process.
  • Mix it all up avoiding thick layers or levels of one particular material.
  • If everything is dry, sprinkle water into the mix.
  • Keep it mixed and turned. A garden fork and some muscle will do the job. Mix once a week if possible. 

a thermometer in a full compost bin


What About the Actual Compost Bin? 

You can heap green material in a mound and say you are composting. 

You can get those Dalek-style plastic bins and use them. 

Beautiful wooden composters - pre-constructed or simply slotted together - make gorgeous structures in your garden and do not need to be hidden away. Wooden bins and quality plastic versions retain the heat in the heap where it's needed most. 


The More Bins, the Better 

You need to know that one heap will not be enough. Ideally have three: 

  • One stuffed full of crumbly black homemade compost ready for use.
  • One cooking in readiness.
  • One being filled as you go about your gardening tasks. 

2'5 x 2'5 Forest Beehive Composter

3'3 x 3'3 Forest Slot Composter

2'6 x 2'6 Eco King 600-litre Green Composter


What to Expect: 

You can make crumbly homemade compost within a year with very little effort. Shred, mix, water and care about your heap; you will be rewarded with top class compost in seven months. 

It can be that easy and rewarding. To get yourself started, please click here to view Shedstore's fantastic range of composters.


Main image: 3' x 3' (1.06 x 1.06m) Forest Slot Down Composter