I don't "do" gardening. What would I use compost for?

Whether you garden or whether you don't, everyone enjoys a splash of colour to look at out of their windows or sitting on the doorstep whilst enjoying a brew.

You don't have to be an educated gardener to do something withcompost. And you won't be left with an overflowing compost bin either, there is always something you can do with it.

A family of four can fill a compost bin in around 6 months if they are adding fruit and vegetable waste, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, torn paper and card, as well as grass cuttings, fallen leaves and hedge trimmings. But only half of this will have turned to compost, the rest won’t be fully broken down at this point.

The half that you get should fill around 4 garden (or rubble) sacks and this will keep for up to a year. But here is what else you could do with it.

  1. Fill up some patio pots. Home-made compost is great for permanent perennials. The RHS recommends mixing it 1-part home compost to 2-parts garden soil. Just be careful what size pot you choose, don’t go for one that’s too big, the compost can get too waterlogged and kill off the plant you’ve just bought! Add some fertiliser to help the plants along around 4 weeks after planting.
  2. Fill up some window boxes. Whether in the sun or in the shade, there are plenty of plants to choose from for some easy summer colour. The BBC has a list of the best ones to choose (see link below). Just arrange the plants still in their pots, fill with compost to the base, take the plants out of the pots, and use your compost to fill the box to the top.
  3. Indoor plants. As they grow, some indoor plants will need repotting into larger containers, or you may want to pot up several herbs for example in one container. If you are repotting, make sure the existing compost is moist first, then place in the new pot with your homemade compost. The best time to do this is spring.
  4. Birthday gifts for friends. Plants always make lovely gifts, so buy a pretty pot, add your compost and a pretty plant.
  5. Give some away! If you have a couple of bags left and really won’t use it, offer it to your family, friends or neighbours. Many will gladly accept a bag or two.

When planting up pots, it’s a good idea to place some broken pots or bits of polystyrene or similar at the bottom. This helps with drainage.

We found these websites helpful.

Planting up containers - advice from the RHS.

Planting up window boxes, with shady and full-sun plant suggestions - advice from the BBC.


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