Q How can I improve my lumpy compost?
Caroline Billetop, by email
A If you add a good mix of materials while building the compost heap they’ll often rot down evenly to produce good compost. However, we tend to have an excess of green, nitrogen-rich material in summer from lawn clippings and other vegetation and more brown, carbon-rich material in autumn and winter from dry leaves and other material.
Where you have a lumpy compost, the only solution is to turn it all out and refill the bin. This crucially gets oxygen into the mix and the materials generally rot down rapidly after this exercise to produce a fine, crumbly garden compost. Importantly, keep the heap covered to retain at least some heat and also to prevent the material getting sodden with heavy winter rainfall. However, ensure the heap is damp in the warmer months by adding a few buckets of water every so often.
Regularly turning your compost should get oxygen into the mix and help it to rot down