Composting tips offered

Sunday Times gardening expert Neil Wormald has offered readers some tips on which types of kitchen waste can be safely added to a gardens compost heap.

The horticulturalist named tea bags, old coffee grounds, broken eggshells, vegetable peelings, fruit skins, spent cut flowers and dead houseplants as being ideal items that will all break down into good-quality compost.

He advised moderation when adding quantities of egg boxes, cardboard packaging, paper and tissues.

"It is a good idea to shred (or tear) these materials up and soak them in water before mixing them into the heap," he said, explaining that this will help to speed up their decomposition.

Of course not everything can be added. Meat bones and fish scraps may attract flies, rats and other vermin while newspapers and glossy magazines are "best taken to the local recycling centre for disposal".

Mr Wormald didnt have space in his column to emphasise the importance of where you place your compost bin.

A quick glance at any recycling website will reveal that its best to site your bin on a level, well-drained spot to allow excess water to drain out and helpful composting creatures such as worms to get in and start working their magic.