The secret to fast compost

The best thing you can do to help your compost break down faster, is to get shredding. Especially the carbon rich ingredients, commonly called the “browns”. By this we mean things like fallen leaves, broken up paper, torn up cardboard like egg boxes, hay, straw, twigs and other woody prunings.

Adding small chunks – the smaller the better - increases the surface area that the compost microbes have to work on and provides a more even distribution of air and moisture among the materials.

Commonly found “browns” from your homes might include loo rolls; kitchen rolls; shredded office paper; brown paper bags, from bread or mushrooms; cardboard boxes, from fishfingers, burgers, and anything else from the freezer. If these are dry and free from food, they can be recycled of course. But anything that’s a little on the damp side, shred it and compost it.

Nitrogen rich green materials such as dead flowers, fruit and vegetable matter, and plant prunings, will also break down faster if they are smaller. Melon skin for example will rot down eventually no matter what the size, but you can speed it up if its smaller.

And who doesn’t want some lovely, nutrient rich compost in time for the summer? Blooming borders, pots and containers in half the time? Yes please!


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