Composting for beginners

As many of you know composting is a great way to create nutrient rich material to help the plants in your garden. We here at MonkeyPuzzle are here to give you a few tips to help you start your compost heap for this autumn using materials which are abundant at this time of year in your house and garden.

As you can see it’s that time of year again when the leaves are beginning to fall and the big garden clean-up will have to begin. However, raking up the leaves in your garden this autumn does not have to be a fruitless task. Most leaves that fall in your garden at this time of year are perfect for composting due to the high carbon content in them. One of the most important things about starting your compost pile is balancing correctly both Carbon and Nitrogen rich materials the ratio which is approximately 2:1. There are many items around your home which are full of carbon and nitrogen a few of which are listed below:

Carbon: fallen leaves, straw and hay, newspaper, shredded paper, cardboard, corn cobs stalks, dryer lint (natural fibres), sawdust pellets, wood chips.

Nitrogen: table scraps, vegetable scraps, flower cuttings, grass trimmings, chicken manure, coffee grinds, tea leaves, just to name a few.

You will want to add the material in the correct ratio (2:1) but there may be excess material if you are doing this correctly. These items will continue to be of use so if possible storing these materials until they are needed can save you some time. The compost is extremely effective as fertilizer because of the mixture of nitrogen and carbon rich content.

Leaf-Only Composting:

If you have an abundance of leaves in your garden this time of year leaf only composting may be a good idea for you. Leaf only composting is not difficult and only involves a few simple steps.

  1. Construct a wire mesh container. All you will need is 4 wooden posts and chicken wire or mesh and construct a simple square shaped container.
  2. Add leaves to the container approximately foot by foot.
  3. Add a layer of soil after every one foot of leaves which you have added.
  4. Ensure the pile is always damp (not soggy) and it is in a cool shaded area.

Leaf only composting creates material great for seed germination, it is not great fertilizer as it has no nitrogen rich content but it can also be used as mulch around your garden.

We hope these tips helped you with your composting for this Autumn/Winter season and that it helps your garden stay fruitful and healthy this coming spring. If you feel your garden can do with a touch up or a full makeover we here at MonkeyPuzzle offer a wide range of gardening services year round. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on: +353 1 2897751