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Beautiful Compost Heaps!

What To Grow In Your Compost Heap?

If you have a full compost heap in early summer that will not be used until the Autumn, you have the ideal place to grow many plants and vegetables.

Growing plants on and around your compost heap has two great advantages. First, the plants will hide the compost heap and in many cases make a feature of it. Second, the plant roots will go deep into the compost and make it more 'crumbly' by aerating it. When the plants die in the autumn, just dig them into the heap, and they will return all the goodness they have extracted. It really is a case of getting something for nothing!

Suitable Plants
Many garden plants and vegetables are suitable for growing on or around compost heaps. One absolute favourite of GardenAction is Nasturtium. These plants have great leaves and will still produce loads of flowers when grown on a compost heap. They are really climbers but they scramble over a compost heap at an amazing rate. They are also very cheap and almost indestructible.

Your compost heap is moist and very fertile so vegetables such as cucumbers, cabbage and potatoes will love this environment - as long as it gets enough sun.

One other trick with compost heaps is to grow plants such as hollyhocks, sunflowers or dahlias (dahlias love this) in largish pots and put the plants in the pot into the compost heap. The plant roots soon spread out from the bottom of the pot and feed on the compost heap nutrients.

Planting In Your Compost Heap
Compost heaps shrink as they decompose, so only plant at least two months after adding the last load of waste. 

When planting, use only well rooted plants, and surround the plant with a good few handfuls of potting compost to keep them in place. Don't bother trying to grow from seed - the environment on top of a compost heap will give you very little chance of success.

Planting Around Your Compost Heap
The soil for a metre (3 ft) around your compost heap will be full of nutrients, so try planting dahlias, hollyhocks or chrysanthemums where they can get some sun. Rhubarb likes lots of nutrients, so it will also do well here.