The simplest methods of composting provide the best results, Gardening Which? reveals today at the start of Composting Awareness Week.
In a test of five techniques the best result was achieved by the most basic method of adding nothing to waste materials.
Just turning the heap regularly and keeping the pile moist kept the compost alive and brimming with organisms.
Other methods, which included adding lime, sulphate of ammonia, topsoil, and all three at once, failed to improve the quality of the compost.
Composting is a great way to put plant food and organic matter back into soil. And by using natural waste, gardeners can save money and help the environment at the same time.
To keep the worms wriggling, Gardening Which? recommends the following tips:
- you can start composting at any time of the year, but spring and autumn are best, when you’ll have plenty of green waste around
- place your bin on bare soil – all the helpful soil organisms can access the heap from below
- chop up any large or tough material, this saves the effort for the organisms which can get straight to work
- make sure your compost is moist at all times – adding a little water when you add some new material should keep it right
- for the speediest composting, turn your heap at least once every couple of months.
Richard Gianfrancesco, Head of Research at Gardening Which?, said: Our results show that you don’t need to add lots of ingredients to your compost. The simplest method – adding nothing – is also the most effective.
‘With advantages for your soil, the environment and your pocket, composting is a win-win solution.’