How (not) to compost

Compost bins have gone high tech. There are hot bins, solar powered bins, even diamante ones. Ok, so I made that one up. But given the price tag of the others, I thought I’d try and cobble one together out of old wood.

I printed instructions from Garden Organic, then left them lying around the kitchen, hoping Unhusband would do it instead. He didn’t.

So much to his disgust, I settled on lobbing leftovers out of the kitchen window into a carefully positioned bucket. It was only supposed to be a temporary measure until he got the hint.

Then the other night I nipped into the garden, and as I walked past the now slightly rancid smelling bucket, something small and springy leapt out.

I have no idea if it was a mouse, a rat, or next door’s pet hamster. But whatever it was, it was definitely a rodent. And it scared the compost out of me, so to speak. Pathetic I know, but it was enough to make me order a proper compost bin, kindly subsidised by the local council.

A few days later it arrived, complete with instructions of what to put in – including urine. Though quite how I’m supposed to wee into something one metre tall, I haven’t quite figured out.

If you want to produce your own organic compost – and have a suitable receptacle – here are a few things to chuck in:


  • Fruit and veg scraps and peelings
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Grass cuttings, nettles and old flowers


  • Egg shell
  • Shredded or scrunched up paper and cardboard
  • Sawdust, wood shavings
  • Animal bedding (eg rabbits, guinea pigs – not cat litter or dog poo, that would be a bit gross.)

The idea is to get a roughly equal mixture of greens and browns and give it a stir from time to time to speed things up. After a few months or so, you should have something that looks like it came out of a bag from the garden centre, only it didn’t, meaning you can help the planet, your bank balance and your veg patch or allotment at the same time.

The question now is what to do with that bucket – I guess I could always wee into it. That’ll please Unhusband.

And here is my shiny new compost bin. Toddler not included.

You can find even more information about making your own compost here.

Compost Bin

SAM in Compost Bin

About Becky Dickinson

Mum of three. Writer, blogger, grower. Trying to keep my head above the compost heap.

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