How we compost

You'll find different types of composting methods across our sites, and different piles are used differently. Generally they fall into one of 3 categories. This page explains how we do it, and how you can do it at home, too. 

Add-as-it-comes piles

This is usually how we use the plastic composters. As long as materials are cut small and mixed well, we can keep adding. 

Build-in-one-go piles

We have 2 of these piles - one in the Peace Garden to make use of all the leaf mulch, and one on Edward Street. Once they're assembled, they're no longer added to. 

Store-in-between piles

During the season, we store composting materials we'll use later to assemble piles. There's a great leaf cage on Edward Street that stores the swimming pool sized amount of leaves we get in autumn, ready to be mixed up with other materials as needed. 

Golden rules for composting

1 - No meat, nothing cooked

Do not add any cooked food to your compost. Other things that cannot go on your heap are:

Tea bags and coffee grounds are fine, of course. 

2 - Chop bigger things up

Woody items decay slowly. We recommend you chop things up using secateurs or a shredder if you have one. If you add paper or cardboard to your pile, tear it into smaller peaces first. 

3 - Mix it up and make sure it's got air

It’s important to get a good mix of ‘browns’ and ‘greens’ at roughly equal amounts. Think of creating a ‘compost lasagne’. 

Grass clippings on their own will decay into a smelly mess, so do not lay them on too thickly. Older and tougher plant material is slower to rot but gives body to the compost. 

If your compost seems compacted, give it a good stir with an old garden fork once in a while. Adding the odd twiggy branch also helps introducing air to the pile. 

Compost from the professionals

We make some, but not all, of our own compost. We've been lucky to receive a donation from the professional composters. Material Change near Bedford compost the stuff from Luton Council's brown bin collection - so your garden waste.