Grass clippings add value to any compost bin - they break down easily, add moisture to the heap and speed up the composting process. And they inject heat. Empty a collecting box into the composter and you’ll see what I mean. As a composting geek, I’ve stuck a thermometer into the pile and got an instant reading of 60C.

So when mixed into the waste, the overall temperature will rise, thereby speeding up the whole process. Aerobic bacteria need moisture, warmth and oxygen.

People who’ve been poisoning the lawn with ‘improving’ herbicide treatments shouldn’t add contaminated clippings to the compost bin but assuming you’ve been gardening sustainably, make full use of your mowings.

Of course, they contain some weed seeds, but so what? No home composter could ever get hot enough to kill seeds, so what difference could a few more make - keep things in proportion and be glad of the extra compost you’ll get.

My large garden generates a shedload of clippings much of which I thankfully donate to my compost bays and bins and the resulting compost is much finer and breaks down to rich soil more quickly than it would otherwise do.

But, as with everything in composting, balance gives best results. Regardless of how you make compost you’ll always end up with usable material. But you get better compost more quickly by following a few simple rules.


There is an alternative to mowing the lawn

Jacobite roses and Dumpy chickens in this traditional Scots garden

How to grow wild primroses in Scotland

Although composting organisms need moist scraps, they can’t function when the material becomes soggy and airless. So aerobic organisms will be replaced by anaerobic ones and they release foul smells. A deep pile of grass clippings becomes exactly that, so you’ll end up with a stinking bin.

Mix the grass with drier stuff and it will be broken up and remain sweet to the nose. The dry waste you’ve added absorbs some liquid from the grass and you don’t have a dense pile.

So where’s the dry brown stuff to mix in? If you still have some dry stalks from a bed you’re finally clearing, use that. Or any spring prunings from the likes of mahonia or forsythia. They’re best shredded, but secateur clippings would be fine.

And if you’ve a small garden containing a lawn and little else, use paper or card instead of or as well as brown plant debris. Crumple whatever envelopes and paper you have, break up any cardboard, egg boxes, toilet roll inners, anything around the place.

Try not to layer all the different kinds of waste. Stick a fork into the composter to cover the tines and shuggle it about to mix everything up.

The Herald: Pink JimmyPink Jimmy (Image: free)

Plant of the week Tulip

‘Pink Jimmy’ has brilliant pink flowers in the classic tulip shape with slightly pointed petals. It is a “Triumph” tulip and all these have sturdy stems that stand well in wind and heavy rain.

If your tulips have been beaten flat make a note to order Triumph tulips this autumn, there is a luscious range of colours to choose from.