By Martina Mercer

There are many different forms of homemade compost out there, and many ways in which you can take unwanted rubbish and turn it into a fertilizer or compost for your plants. However, which does what, and what compost and fertilizer is best for your plot?

Whether you garden on a balcony from a few tubs in the middle of a city, or have a landscape of paddocks and a huge veggie patch, there are composts you can make at home that are purely organic and will only serve to benefit your plants.

The famous compost – hot or cold

The most famous compost is the heap which made either hot or cold rots down cardboard and vegetable matter leaving you with a rich soil in which to re pot or plant plugs and bedding plants. It is recommended that this soil is not used for seedlings, as unlike garden centre composts, it can be guaranteed as sterile. Seedlings are too delicate for normal outdoor soil, and compost can be expensive. This compost will also serve to act for re-potting, outdoor containers, window boxes and houseplants. If you do have any left over, dug into the soil around established plants it will give them a much needed nutrient boost.

Leaf Mould

Leaf mould is best used on a bare plot before planting out. When plants have undergone the hardening off treatment and are ready to be transported to the border or veggie patch, the leaf mould will be waiting to provide oxygen to the roots. Dry leaves such as beech or oak can be used as thermal underwear around a plant’s base over winter in order to act as a little insulation jacket.

Compost Tea

This is not the tea we drink, although teabags add great texture to a compost heap, this is the name for the excess water that is drawn from a compost heap when it is ready to use. Forget Miracle Grow, this can then be placed in a watering can and given to your favourite plants as a special treat.

Coffee grounds

Just like us your plants benefit from the odd spot of caffeine too. Once the grounds have been brewed and you’ve enjoyed the fresh filtered stuff, throw them onto beds or steep them in water before giving your plants their morning wakeup call! These also act as a great deterrent to cats, and as a bonus, worms are addicted to the black stuff, so will love it if you sprinkle on top of the compost.

Ash

If your soil is a little acidic, for example, you’d love to grow a Camilla plant but have never had the soil it requires, then use ash from a log fire and dig into the plot before planting the plant. This will neutralise soil whilst adding texture for roots and your Camilla will be blooming beautiful in no time at all!

Urine