Malcolm Smith's
Allotment Compost



I have my own principals for making my compost and do not fully follow established procedures. This is not because I know better or have a secret formula, it just suits my way of working.

I have two different types of compost bin, barrels for kitchen waste and enclosures for garden waste. I start both types off with a layer of leaves or straw to minimise the loss of goodness into the ground. The barrels are then built up in alternate layers of kitchen waste and fresh horse dung. The enclosures are used for weeds, leaves or prunings and are similarly layered with fresh horse dung. In periods when garden waste is in short supply, I use straw from a bale I keep for such porposes. The contents of barrel and enclosure have urine added on a weekly basis to increase the nitrogen content.

The compost does not get turned at all so it may not break down as one would wish although it has been pretty good in previous years. I tend to use it where I am planting peas and beans by opening a trench and digging it down to a second spit's depth. Even in a partially decomposed state it acts as a soil improver and holds moisture. I used to keep the compost enclosures covered with a piece of old carpet but no longer bother as the compost got too dry.

I do not compost pernicious weeds, diseased crops or cabbage roots. I also do not compost newspaper, shredded documents or old cardboard due to possible contamination from ink or glue.

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