How to make a good compost heap

Whether you’re a keen gardener or not, composting is a terrific idea all round. It’s incredibly good for environment and it can help to drastically reduce the amount of waste that you throw out into landfill. Not sure where to start? Garden experts Greenhouse Sensation is here to help you become a composting-whizz in no time at all.

  1. Start a compost pile

If you have more space at your disposal, you could consider building a compost heap. If space is limited you can either opt for a wooden or plastic bin – it’s all about picking the best one for your garden and one that suits you.

Once you’ve decided on your container, it’s time to find the perfect spot for it to live. Ideally you want it to sit on a level patch of land that is also well-drained to allow excess water to disappear naturally. A well-drained spot also gives easy access to worms, who are vital to breaking down the ingredients of your bin – composting can’t be done without them! A position in shade or light shade will help to keep the temperature and moisture levels well-balanced.

  1. The right ingredients

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different things you can compost – the possibilities are practically endless. Here are just a few things you can throw in your composter – this is by no means a complete list so make sure you do your research…

  • Scraps of fruit and vegetables
  • Spoiled/cooked food such as:
    • Soy/almond/coconut/rice milk
    • Pasta
    • Rice
    • Stale bread and crisps
    • Stale crackers and cereal
    • Old herbs and spices
    • Stale and crushed candy
    • Pizza crusts
    • Crumbs swept off the counter
  • Crushed eggshells (provides fantastic nutrients to the soil)
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Loose leaf tea and teabags (only if made from natural materials)
  • Used paper towels and napkins
  • Shredded paper bags
  • Cardboard pizza boxes (unwaxed and cut up)
  • Cardboard egg boxes (shredded)
  • Pet waste e.g. horses, cows, chickens and rabbits

Annie Spratt

  1. The wrong ingredients

Just as the correct things in your compost can work wonders, adding in the wrong ingredients can lead to pests, smells and unusable compost. Here are a few things to keep out of your pile…

  • Dog and cat waste (this can only be done in a special composter)
  • Tea and coffee bags with synthetic fibres
  • Onion peel
  • Citrus fruit peel
  • Scraps of meat and fish
  • Sticky labels from fruit and vegetables
  • Ash from coal fires
  • Paper that is glossy or coated
  • Sawdust from treated wood
  • Large tree branches
  • Synthetic fertiliser
  1. Find the balance

Believe it or not, but there is a lot more to composting than throwing your waste in a bin at the bottom of the garden – but don’t let that put you off! In order to get the best compost for your plants, there’s a balance to get right, but it’s easy to find. It’s all about the “greens” and “browns”.

Green materials are rich in nitrogen, and include things like:

  • Plant-based kitchen waste
  • Barnyard animal waste
  • Grass clippings

Brown materials are rich in carbon:

  • Fallen leaves
  • Dead flowers
  • Shredded paper
  • Straw

If you find that your compost is too wet, add more ‘brown’ materials as this will help to balance out the excess moisture. On the other hand, if you notice it’s a little on the dry side, add some ‘greens’ to give those water levels a boost.

  1. Add the air

There’s only one more step involved with caring for your compost heap to ensure it produces a good quality soil for your garden. Every couple of weeks, use a shovel, fork or specially designed aeration tool to ‘turn’ your compost heap. The aim is to move the compost in the centre of the pile to the outer edges, and vice versa. Don’t worry if you see steam rising as you start to work; this is just heat caused by the decomposition of the materials.

  1. The finished product

So, you’ve done all the hard work, how do you know when your compost is ready? At the bottom of your bin you’ll start to notice a soil-like layer that is either dark brown or black in colour. Its texture will be spongy and it’ll be jam-packed full of fantastic nutrients. Use this on your flowerbeds and vegetable plots to improve the soil quality, suppress weeds and eliminate the need for pesticides and chemical fertilisers.

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Planting Trees In Our Very Own Garden | Why Jack Would Love It

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I’ve mentioned before that we live in a house with a really tiny garden. We have found a house we really like that we have put an offer in on and are hopeful for. It has a lovely large garden and we can’t wait to get out in it.

Now I’ve mentioned before that Jack loves gardening a lot. With National Tree Week last week, Landmark Trading are aiming to provide a fun and easy way for people to interact with, and appreciate, trees. If we get this house, then we will be asking what changes we can make. We’d love to plant a tree that Jack can care for and grow. But we need to know exactly what to do when it comes to planting trees so we’ve been taking a look.

It is important to know exactly what you are doing when it comes to planting trees. Autumn or winter tends to be the best time for planting. This is even if you are planting a tree in a container. You need to prepare the site for planting – look at the drainage and loosen the soil so that it can be accessed to at least the depth of the root ball. You could consider perhaps adding organic matter which can help to improve soil quality. If the soil is waterlogged, drainage may be required so perhaps choose tree varieties that like a lot of water and raise the tree base slightly in a mound.

When planting a tree in the ground, make sure not to damage the root system and planting holes should be as deep as the roots but at least three times wider than the root system. After soaking, make sure that the first flare of roots is level with the soil surface when the tree is positioned in the planting hole. You should also consider fertilising after the first season of it being in the ground. You should also make sure you are aware of any tree diseases there are to avoid yours getting them if possible.

We’ll be investing in products such as tree guards and various tree supports to help our tree have the very best chance of surviving in our garden. Jack is so loving and caring of living things so I know he will certainly care for anything he plants in the garden to the best of his ability. Gardening can really help your child’s development.

We have always wanted a proper garden of our very own and finally it is looking likely. Hopefully we can grow things to our hearts content and have a thriving garden for Jack and Olivia to enjoy – it’s been a while coming. With National Tree Week just gone by, here’s hoping plenty of people have taken the opportunity to educate themselves about trees just like us and will take certain factors into consideration when it comes to planting and looking after trees in the future.

How To Choose A Plastic Shed That Will Last

shed

If you want to pick the best shed for your outdoor space, consider a plastic shed. This variety are relatively maintenance free and fit together effortlessly. What’s more, if you move house, they are really easy to take apart.

Here’s what you need to consider when picking a plastic shed that will last a lifetime.

  • The Size of the Shed

If you have adequate space for your plastic shed, the ideal size would be 6ft x 8ft. This offers double the floor area of a smaller variety and plenty of room for a work bench along the size. If you’re going to be putting your shed in a confided space, make sure you measure precisely.

  • Sturdiness

A flimsy shed is going to develop distorted sides, an unreliable door, and a sagging roof over time. Check your plastic shed for sturdiness by standing in it and jumping in the centre of the floor. You may also want to push against the centre of the roof panels and sides. Check out the plastic sheds from Whatshed.co.uk as they are resistant and built to last a lifetime.

  • Keeping Rain Out

Wooden sheds tend to leak when it rains whereas plastic sheds are better protected. For added protection, choose a shed that has a roof overhang of about 5cm on the sides and 7.5cm on the front and back. Furthermore, rain is less likely to run under a door it has a weather bar over it which will deflect the water. The windows should have sloping sills to encourage water away from the shed.

  • Access to the Shed

You need to make sure that everyone who will be using the shed will be able to get in and out without tripping over a threshold or banging their head on anything. The doorway should also be wide enough for your intended use. Single doors typically range from around 3ft to 2ft 2in. The wider the door opening is, the wider the items you will be able to fit in your shed.

  • Planning Permission

You don’t usually need planning permission from local authorities for a plastic shed, but it’s always worth checking with your local council.

  • Talk to the Neighbours!

Don’t forget to let your neighbours know about your shed if you are going to place it near a boundary. Advise them accordingly so that there aren’t any complaints once you have your shed!

  • Location

Finally, think about where you would like to place your shed in your outdoor space and make sure you have at least 3 feet of space around the outside of the shed to make for easy access and maintenance. Plan the area out before ordering your shed so that there won’t be any obstacles limiting your entry.

Don’t forget to protect your shed from the elements. You can do this by placing it close to a taller building, hedge, or fence, which will help to guarantee a longer durability, especially during unfavourable weather.

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