Gardening can slow down in the winter months, however one thing that is never out of season is a pile of nutrient-rich compost that can provide endless benefits for your garden’s soil and plants. Collecting food scraps to add to your compost pile can take some time in a normal day, however Christmas provides the perfect opportunity to add to an existing pile or even start from scratch. While most items are safe to add to the mix, Hayes Garden World expert Angela Slater warns against using certain festive foods – or risk inviting vermin onto your property.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she said: “Composting is an incredibly cost-effective and eco-friendly way to dispose of your food waste, and the UK is throwing away 9.5 tonnes of food per year, Now is the perfect time to refill it.” -Revaluate your relationship with your leftovers. Disposing of them in your compost pile instead of your household bin reduces the amount of waste that will eventually end up in landfill.
“Food leftovers are also extremely beneficial to soil health, composting encourages the soil to retain water and nutrients for longer and improves many of its overall physical properties. This can lead to higher harvests.” It also contributes to yields, which means throwing your food waste in the compost pile could lead to a thriving garden.”
“Composting is equally a great way to deal with the guilt we all feel when we waste our food. Knowing that our leftovers can have a purpose beyond our dinner plates , will make mealtimes more enjoyable.”
She explained that making the most of your “homemade” compost starts with using the right ingredients to maximize the benefits in your garden as they break down in the ground.
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How to Make Garden Compost Using Christmas Foods
Filling up a food waste bin over the festive period may seem like you’re doing your bit for the environment, but if you want to have “great” compost you need to do more.
make it in moderation
Angela cautions against adding large portions of food to the pile—no matter how beneficial the ingredients may be to your garden. She said: “Cut up any large pieces of fruit or veg and mix them with other ingredients such as garden waste and shredded paper to make a fine crumbly mixture.”
Shredding and shavings are even better for quicker decomposition and will mean your compost works more quickly when spread over plant beds and added to pots.
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avoid meat and fish
Turkey, glazed pork, duck and beef are all popular choices for the Christmas table, but they should be avoided in the garden.
As with fish and seafood, the meat and bones on these items will cause a foul odor in your garden, attracting a horde of hungry pests.
Even though they will decompose, they are not worth adding to your compost pile and should instead be disposed of in a normal waste bin.
Angela said that in general, all cooked foods should be avoided.
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avoid baked goods
The horticulturist explained that if you have leftover cakes, bread, pastries or biscuits, they should be kept well away from your compost pile as they provide little in the way of nutrients and “only attract vermin”. Attract”.
She said: “Dispose of cakes and breads if you have worms. These can be fed to worms in small amounts, but large amounts can lead to mould. Include lots of shredded cardboard and paper with food. “
Always keep banana peels with you
Bananas are one of the most versatile fruits eaten year-round, but the inedible peel means that just one bunch of these yellow fruits creates a lot of waste.
add egg shells
Like banana peels, eggshells are an unavoidable waste product, although their calcium-rich composition means they are another valuable composting ingredient that will “inject” nutrients into garden soil.
turn the compost regularly
Once your compost pile is filled with festive flavors, take the time to check it regularly into the new year.
Angela said: “It should be ready for use in about twelve months to two years.”