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Types of Compost to put on the Garden

This is quite different from compost for potting that you buy in bags. Basically, it’s rotted organic material that you put on soil to improve it. There are several kinds of these, and they do different things, so here’s a quick guide to the basics.

Garden compost – this is the stuff you make yourself out of rotted stuff from the garden and vegetable waste from the kitchen. Great for the fruit and veg patch.

Leaf Mould - Really easy to make with no special equipment and there’s no shortage of leaves. Leafmould can be used for pretty much everything, as a mulch, soil conditioner, potting mix or seed compost. It’s low enough in nutrients so it won’t scold tender seedlings but can dramatically improve soil structure and boost its water retention.

Mushroom compost - a by product of mushroom farming, it has a high organic matter content so it’s really good for improving soil and  mulching.

Seaweed - it’s a bit stinky, but if you live near the seaside, it’s easily available and works a treat.

Composted bark -this improves the structure of the soil but don’t count on it if you want it to improve  nutrient value (or ‘richness’). Actually, most council compost green material and you can either collect this for free, or buy it for a small charge from your local council. See the How to Dig section.

Chicken manure – is a very good non-chemical source of Nitrogen, which plants need for leafy growth. It’s is bought in pelleted form, because it’s sterilised in processing and it can carry some pretty nasty bacterial, but if you happen to know a friendly chicken farmer, make sure that it’s really well rotted on the compost heap in the ratio of  a 5cm layer for every 15cm of other composting material for several months.

Stable manure – dung from horses usually mixed with straw, but make sure it’s well rotted down, because it will really ‘burn’ the plants but also you’ll have field weeds from your garden for evermose adn you’re neighbours won’t speak to you for months!

General farmyard manure – as above, but also includes doo-doo from cows, pigs, sheep etc.