It’s full blown war on our plot this week – me versus badger.

Before you call the Scottish SPCA to complain, I should make clear that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog and the only battle is one of wits. Which I am losing. Miserably.

Whether you’re an avid or just an aspiring Grow Your Owner, if you have a medium to biggish bit of garden there’s something you really should be doing right about now. As the weather turns a tiny bit warmer it’s time to get your heap started!

I’ve been a devoted composter for decades. Nothing beats the satisfaction of piling up your veggie peelings, waste greenery and brownery, old paper bags and bits of cardboard, and anything Slightly Biodegradable and Mostly Harmless, into a big pile and letting it break down over a year or two into a lovely mound of friable, sweet-smelling compost.

It is deeply satisfying to take all of that waste (especially if it’s organic) and make from it something that is probably the best soil conditioner money can’t buy. Adding your lovely compost as a light top dressing to your veggie beds adds immeasurable nutrients and microbes and greatly improves the health of your soil – and ultimately your health too.

So me and my compost bin go everywhere together. Over the years I’ve trialled just about every design of bin there is. When our local council offered those 330- litre black plastic compost bins at £3 each, I went on a serial bin buying spree and ended up having to give my spares away. No-one it seems, not even me, needs 12 compost bins.

And it’s that 330-litre black plastic council composter that’s been getting me into trouble this week. They have this 'handy' side hatch which helps you to get to the finished compost. It’s been a very cold year so far, with the ground largely frozen solid, which means that worms (that staple of the badger diet) are lying low and largely inaccessible. Except in our newly-started compost bin. Protected from the elements, with a ready supply of food, the brandling or compost worms are having a ball. Sadly, so was the badger, who managed to break its way through the 'handy side hatch' every night for a week, strewing our organic waste across the whole garden in its search for a tasty treat. I tried everything - bricks, tree trunks, brambles, duck tape, superglue - to block its way and stop it breaking in, but to no avail.

So I’ve brought in the heavy artillery - the days of our Blackwall 330s are numbered - in the shape of our Komp800. Looking like the bottom of a Dalek, it has thick and rigid sides and a foolproof system of closing that not even an Einstein of the badger world can figure out. Sorted.

If all of this makes composting seem really tricky, it isn’t... honest! Just get the right tools, materials, location and the right amount of time and it’s one of the easiest ways of boosting the fertility of your garden.

Here’s my composting top tips:

1.  Before buying a compost bin contact Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) – they offer heavily discounted bins through local councils.

2.  You can get all scientific about making compost, but nature composts naturally. Sometimes the best thing to do is match up the perfect partners, get out of the way and let the magic happen.

3.  There’s lots of help online for home composting – check out ZWS, Royal Horticultural Society or Garden Organic for starters. 

4.  To compost well, you need green stuff (grass cuttings, fruit and vegetable leftovers and peelings, tea bags and leaves, coffee grounds, annual weeds and leaves) and brown stuff (branches, egg boxes, cardboard, broken up or shredded twigs) and air. Air can be got by turning your compost heap (watch your back) or adding layers of twiggy material that take time to break down and leave air gaps. If you compost without air it will get smelly and sour and take forever but even this, eventually, will work.

5.  Compost bins attract all manner of beasts and mammals, including slow worms and expanding mice families. Most common are composting worms (good), flies (less good - add a bit of brown to cover the surface) and slugs (not even slightly good unless you’re a frog). Don’t put a compost bin where you want to grow your veg, it’s like a Trojan horse for the ultimate garden pest.

6.  Check out the different types of compost bins and see which one will work best for you. There are all sorts of devices on the market, all with good and bad points:

* You can build your own from wood (costly) or old pallets tied together. Both are good for getting the air in but not so good at preventing scavenging by birds and vermin.

* Compost tumblers keep the compost aerated (which stops it going smelly) and speed up the compost making. But once you’ve added a fair bit of waste to the tumbler, it all settles to the bottom and you need Charles Atlas to move it round. You can get industrial compost tumblers that use cogs and wheels instead of muscle, but you’ll need money and space.

* There are all sorts of technical designs that claim to make perfect compost, but you’ll pay a lot for these. Read reviews before buying. Sometimes simple is best.

7.  Go as big as you can (they fill up more quickly than you can possibly imagine) and as decorative as you like (they’ll be around for a while so don’t put them where they will mess up your garden design.

8.  Expect to need more than one.

9.  Unless there is no way you could possibly compost at home, never hand over your kitchen scraps and green waste for ‘corporate’ recycling. It may look like just a bit of potato or carrot skin now, but with time and care, it’s a little bit of black gold for your garden.

Good luck with this week's gardening adventures.