What Can I Compost During Autumn?

What Can I Compost During Autumn?

Autumn is the time of year where nights start to draw in and the landscapes take on a subtle amber glow as leaves turn every shade of red, orange and yellow and garden begins to wind down ready for winter (let’s be honest, so are we!). There is still however quite a variety of compostable materials to find in the garden, so let’s take a look at what might be available to keep your HOTBIN composting.

Early Autumn (September)

Prune and compost:

  • Flowering shrubs, fruit trees and bushes
  • Hardy climbers such as Honeysuckle, Wisteria & Virginia Creeper
  • Lightly prune late autumn fruiting raspberries, blackberries & hybrid berries

Cut back and compost:

  • Deciduous hedges such as Hawthorn, Beech & Hornbeam
  • Remaining raspberry canes that fruited earlier this year

Remove and compost:

  • ​Tender bedding plants

Deadhead and compost summer bedding plants, Dahlias, Roses & Begonias

  • Chop and compost any spoiled, bruised or rotted wind fallen fruit. For best results, roughly chop the fruit into smaller pieces before adding them into the HOTBIN. If possible, dose them in with other types of waste, bulking agent and shredded paper. This should help the HOTBIN to achieve and/or sustains hot composting temperatures even when the ambient temperature starts to drop.
  • Keep up the weeding – try and remove weeds to prevent a strong root network from emerging

Mid-Autumn (October)

Cut back and compost:

  • Lavatera, Buddleia & Sambucas by ½ of their height to avoid wind-rock
  • Asparagus stems as they turn yellow
  • Old foliage from strawberry plants
  • Herbaceous perennials as they die back

Autumn leaves - rake fallen leaves into a pile on the lawn before shredding them before adding them into the HOTBIN. If you don’t have a leaf collector that automatically shreds we would advise running over them with the lawn mower. By adding leaves in smaller pieces, it:

  • Increases the surface area available to the hot composting bacteria and accelerates the rate of decomposition
  • Reduces the chances of them creating impermeable layers within the HOTBIN and restricting airflow

Late Autumn (November)

Prune and compost:      

  • Long stems of roses by 1/3 to reduce their height and susceptibility to wind-rock
  • Shred or roughly chop these stems before adding them into the HOTBIN to help speed up their rate of decomposition
  • Deciduous trees & hedges
  • Winter prune apples, pears & grapevines after leaf fall

Cut back and compost any remaining asparagus spears to the base when the foliage has yellowed

Clear and compost old spent plants

Autumn leaves - rake any further fallen leaves into a pile on the lawn, shred and add into the HOTBIN. Try to do this on a dry day to prevent excess moisture from being added into the unit.

Ways to Use Compost in the Autumn

Before the heavy frosts set in and the ground becomes frozen, choose a clear and sunny day to spread compost onto the beds and borders and dig it in well (unless following a no dig method). This gives the ground time to recover and become rejuvenated before the new planting season begins. If you have any borderline hardy plants such as Agapanthus, make sure that these get a generous amount of compost around the base.

If you have any compost left over, add some into any bare pots or containers you have – a 5cm layer is all you need but will give a great helping hand come late winter and early spring.

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