9. Sep, 2017

Autumn compost tasks

Autumn is also considered by some as the best time to  start composting as the  tidying and  cleaning up of the  garden in readiness for winter  provides plenty of material, and hopefully, the bin  will have time  get into its stride before the worst of the cold weather.

Autumn  is recommended to apply compost as a mulch it can be applied both to   established beds and around specimen plants. Compost can also be used as a mulch to top dress the lawn in the autumn when people are less likely to worry about the look of the lawn.

Whether starting a new bin or operating an existing one getting it decomposing well throughout the autumn and early winter, if the weather is kind, will help to provide a good crop of compost in the spring.

To help speed the composting process it is a good idea to increase the surface area of waste added to the bin in the autumn, even if it is not usually shredded for the rest of the year.  If the  material  is soft , and a shredder is not alvailable, it can be put on the lawn and run over with the lawn mower.

As there is likely to be a lot of material available at this time of year,  if it is not practical to start a second bin, store it in a covered pile. It is important to keep the pile dry, as dry material will heat up in a bin more quickly than wet. Material being saved in the autumn for use as bulking agent in food composting e.g. sawdust or composted wood chip used should also be kept dry. (I keep mine in plastic dustbins)  

 September is the time to compost the  dead (or dying) summer flowers, material from the last of the summer vegetables,  including the plants themselves, e.g. beans, globe artichokes, tomatoes and peppers and those cropping during the autumn e.g. marrow squashes,, leeks and main crop potatoes.

In the UK continue harvesting comfrey  until late September when it should be left uncut for the leaves to die of naturally.

In October, any remaining summer crops can be composted along with potato helms and beetroot tops as they are lifted. Any remaining climbing bean, pea or tomato plants can be chopped into small pieces for composting as the supports are taken down.

Squashes, pumpkins can be harvested and the plants chopped and composted. Carved pumpkins can be composted after Halloween  Go to Composting Pumpkins

Annual weeds can be composted if the allotment is to be dug, manured and left for the winter.