How to compost | Alys Fowler

A summer of snipping away and leftovers must be ready to spread out – but be wary when it comes to diseased material

Autumn rots all that summer has brought forth. It does so both gently and brutally. The leaves of pumpkins turn ghostly white with mildews, perennials start to drain their leaves of colour and all number of spores and microbes set to work. Slugs, bold now the sun’s heat has gone, move out in force to clean up the remainders.

I think of my compost bin and how a summer of snipping away and leftovers must be ready to spread out. Emptying your bin now also means you have an emptier bin to start filling with the material that will accumulate over the coming months. I say emptier, because there is always some stuff that needs to go back into round two of rotting – rose prunings, thick cabbage stems and woody prunings. Take an old hammer or mallet and bash this stuff: the more you break it up, the quicker it breaks down.

Related: Alys Fowler’s gardening column: how to grow peas over winter


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