Classic composting

The traditional advice for constructing a classic compost heap is quite simple. First, collect together a mixture of soft, nitrogen-rich waste and tougher, carbon-rich material. Shred any tree and shrub prunings.

Second, start filling your compost bin with layers of different materials, adding a spadeful of compost or soil now and then - the right micro-organisms will colonize your heap eventually anyway, but there's no harm in giving them a helping hand. Carry on until your heap measures at least one cubic metre (1 cu.yd), or more if possible. If the heap seems dry, water it. Cover it with the bin lid or a piece of old carpet.

Your heap should soon start to get hot. When it starts to cool, turn it and it will heat up again. When it starts to cool again, turn it for a third time, and leave until done.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it's this stately home approach that caused generations of gardeners to abandon the whole idea of making compost. In fact, this

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Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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