Garden composting

Cherry Butler

What is garden composting?

Recycling unwanted garden and kitchen waste into a free, nutrient-rich soil improver and mulch. There are some basic rules to follow that will unravel the mystery.

Choose your area and container

The wooden slatted, made-to-measure compost bins are my recommendation and they look nice too. Make up a group of three somewhere accessible and in a shady corner of the garden. Plastic bins can be obtained free from the council but are a little trickier to negotiate and don’t look so attractive. Many other systems are available.

The ‘recipe’

  1. Too many grass cuttings are the downfall of most compost systems. They become a squidgy, stinky mess.
  2. Layer grass cuttings with leaves, cardboard, non-perennial weeds, cut up perennials and green prunings, kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings, pet bedding etc.
  3. Try to avoid cooked foods such as meat, fish and bread products as these can attract vermin.
  4. Add a nitrogen compost activator such as chicken or horse manure or a compost activator available in all garden centres.
  5. Ensure it is not too wet or too dry as this will halt the process. Water in dry weather and add dry product like shredded paper or straw to absorb wetness.
  6. Air is needed so all the micro-organisms and worms can get to work, so layer grass clippings with dry material or move the heap from one bay to another.

The result

Compost that is suitable to use everywhere as a soil improver, mulch and even potting. I plant my full bins with courgettes so no square inch of garden is wasted!

Horticultural consultancy

I can spend half a day in your garden identifying your plants and teaching you how to look after them. I can even help you set up a composting area.

Cathie’s garden army

If you have lost control of your garden completely we are here to help! A qualified team of horticulturists can transform your garden in a day following a consultancy. Email [email protected], visit and follow Cathie’s Gardening School on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.