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December: build a compost heap

Many of you will already know the importance of compost in the garden. What you might not know is the secret life of the fungi in the compost you are making. The old idea was that fungi broke down the dead plant materials in order to release their nutrients in the soil. It was always known that some plants such as snowdrops and bluebells had a more special relationship with fungi, their threads – called mycelia – growing inside the plant, making nutrients available from a huge area; much bigger than the plant’s roots could ever have.

 There are always lots of peelings and vegetable waste at this time of the year. Simply collect it in a bucket and then decide where you want your heap. Often gardeners put it out of the way, out of sight but the problem with this is that gardeners often just forget to fill it when it’s a pain to get to. So make your compost heap convenient.

There are lots of designs of compost heaps. I have a few, a plastic Dalek, which I have to insulate and a hot bin type which I don’t. A specially designed slatted wooden one, and one made out of old pallets roughly hammered together.

Doesn’t really matter what you use, so long as you keep the compost aerated, warm and damp. 



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