Compost for realists

Woody waste can cause such trouble that I'm going to start out by assuming you don't have any. Later, we will see what can be done with woody waste, but first let's consider what you can do realistically with the soft garden and household waste and lawn mowings.


For the average gardener, the easiest way to cope with most soft waste is to make a "high-fibre" compost heap. The method described here is based on that developed by the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales, in the UK. Green kitchen and garden waste and paper and card are essential ingredients.

Any paper or card you add to a high-fibre heap should be crumpled to make irregular, three-dimensional shapes. Egg boxes and toilet-roll tubes are perfect without any pre-treatment. Start with a layer of paper and card to improve the drainage at the base, then just add paper and green waste as it comes along -no need for any distinct "layering".

The only rules are to make sure that you have approximately equal volumes of paper and green waste, and not to add pure green waste in a layer more than 15cm (6in) deep.

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