Simple Guide to Composting | How to Make Compost When You're New to Composting, by Huw Richards

Jeremie LitzlerAbout 2 minGardeningHuw RichardsCompost

Old squash stems in a compost bin
Credits: image taken from Huw Richards’s vlog

Making your own compost is the key to a successful garden. Let’s see what tips Huw has to share.

Thanks to Huw Richards for sharing his wisdom and knowledge! I wrote the following notes watching the video published on Huw Richards’s channel.

You can watch it using this YouTube linkopen in new window.

You can call a garden “a garden” if you don’t make your compost.

Compost is turning your waster into soil food.

The location of the compost bin

Ideally, it needs to be in a corner and it needs to be in the share.

It needs to be close enough to the source of materials you will put in the bin.

Finally, set your bin high up so you don’t have to climb a hill to your garden.

Building the compost bin

There are many designs, but to my opinion, use pallets.

If you’re a family and don’t run a farm, don’t buy anything else other than screw or nails and a bit of wire. Look at this article detailing the process.

If you’re running a farm, then this article won’t explain how to build compost bins optimized for large-scale operations. However, have a read of the notes I took so far on the compost topic by Charles Dowding. He runs a little business and he has a large 6-heap structure.

What materials

It’s again simple. You have green material and brown material.

Huw lists the most common greens and browns.

Greens:

  • Horse and cow manure
  • Rabbit and Guinea Pig droppings
  • Used coffee ground
  • Kitchen vegetable scraps
  • Garden weeds which haven’t flowered
  • Grass clippings
  • Spent brewery grains

Browns:

  • Autumn leaves
  • Shredded paper
  • Newspaper and cardboard
  • Dried grass

What ratio of brown and green

Huw makes it simple once more, despite the numerous recipes out there.

You want to simple mix 2 portions of brown with 1 portion of green.

Then you empty the material in the following order: brown over green.

You will then build up a lasania (e.g., layers) compost heap.

This method is called slow composting because the heat is what speed up the composting process.

However, you need a lot more green materials in general and, trust me, it’s difficult to get plenty of material for hot compost.

Problems and troubleshooting

  • Lack of nitrogen: if the compost takes over 12 months to be ready, add some more manure or greens.

  • Smell: if you put too much nitrogen, the heap might stink. You can easily solve that with an addition of a brown material.

  • Compost too wet: with too much water in the compost, the bacteria don’t thrive as well as if it was just moist. You can solve that with laying cardboard on top of the compost pile.

Ideas to get more material to put on the compost pile

  1. Ask your family, friends and neighbors to give away their compostable wastes by providing them with a container
  2. Ask your local coffee place to collect coffee grounds
  3. Ask your local shops to spare the cardboard boxes that you can easily use in your garden and on the compost bin.