I am a little obsessed with compost because I can never make enough. To help, I sometimes have manure from Bruce delivered but it is so much work because, like everyone near me, you can't get a vehicle near the plot. This means it is dropped off and then has to be barrowed onto the plot. I had two loads this year, each load taking 2 hours to move and then I couldn't move the next day!

There are so many different ways of making compost and I do a bit of each because it all is used in different ways: cold composting, hot composting, worm composting and leaf mold. This post has a video explanation of each method made by a variety of growers.

My usual way of composting is what I have always called cold composting but Huw Richards calls lazy composting.  His video explains it well and it is how I make the bulk of my compost. I do it exactly the same way apart from jumping on the pile. Huw's whole Youtube channel is worth investigating. 

The only issue I have with it is that it doesn't get very hot because you build it over time and if you put weeds with seeds in (yes, I do!) they aren't killed by the heat and so you have quite a lot of weeds that germinate when you spread it.  Placing woven plastic sheeting over the bed after the compost is spread does the job of inhibiting weed germination for some time after it is removed. I do, however, put in couch grass and its roots and bindweed both of which rot down and disappear and neither reappear when I use the compost.

To kill off weed seed you need to hot compost. The basic principles here are that you make the heap much quicker and that you turn it. There are many different ways to do this from Charles Dowding who builds his heap over weeks and turns it once to The Berkeley Method where the heap is built in one day and turned frequently.  The following videos demonstrate the two methods.

The following video is Dowding's most recent look at composting but he has many others if you look through his Youtube channel.

In Australia where Permaculture originated, making compost is a very important skill and they use the Berkeley Method of hot composting which is explained in the video below.


Because this is Australia, I was not convinced that compost could be made in 18 days in the UK over winter so I have started a trial on my plots. I am making an 18 day heap each month of the year to see what happens. November's results can be seen here and I am in the process of turning my December heap regularly and will report on the results at the end of the month.

Worm composting or vermicomposting is something I do at home. I have two small containers specially made for worm composting. They have a tap in the bottom and a slatted base inside so that the worm liquid can run through and be drained off. This means that you get two products from this type of composting - a liquid feed and a very good compost which is really more of a fertiliser and can be used on particular plants rather than spreading it across the whole plot. It is probably not possible to make enough to do this as the temperature is best for this sort of composting during the growing season - the worms slow down in the winter and need cold weather protection with some insulation.  This video, again from Australia, shows worm composting on a slightly larger scale than mine but if anyone has an old bath they no longer need, I would be delighted to have it and give worm composting on a larger scale a go. Contact me via the allotment Facebook group.


If you would like a go at work composting but on a much smaller scale, this video which makes worm compost in the bed it is fertilising is worth a try.  

And lastly there is leaf mold which I have written about before, a that post can be read here.

There are other ways of composting but I don't have experience of them. If you do and would like to write about them, do please contact me and we can arrange a way in which this can happen.  Also do contact me if you have a spare bath. I am a member of the Facebook group and can be contacted there.