Compost activators and soil conditioners

Even the best planned compost heaps need a bit of a kick start, so here are a few ways to do it. All these things will help speed up the process.

To Wee or not to Wee?

URINE euch! sounds horrible but if you don't mind weeing in a bucket then this is one of the best starters you can get. Urine is nitrogen based, just don't add too much as it will become too full of nitrogen and rather pongy too!

CHICKEN DROPPINGS or rabbit/guniea pig droppings, allotment holders in the north also swear by pigeon poo! All full of nitrogen and should not be used in too large a quantity.


Comfrey is excellent for your compost heap and grows easily in the garden or on the allotment. When the plant is large and bushy cut it back quite hard and add to your compost heap. It also has many other uses one being as a good plant feed but beware as it is a deep rooted plant and can be very invasive.


Nettles compost really well and are a valuable addition to any compost heap and the best thing is they are easy to find.

If you don't fancy any of the above you can always buy compost starters at you garden centre, but it's definitely worth experimenting to see which works best for you.


Mushroom compost

Makes a good soil conditioner and mulch. This can be purchased from commercial growers or bought in bags from your garden centre.


Seaweed has an alginate content which helps bind the soil and improve its structure. It is rich in nitrogen and potassium and can be used fresh (don't let it dry out as it becomes too salty). Never take the seaweed straight from the rocks, collect it from the tideline, also makes a good feed.


Always try to have a muck heap if you can. Don't use fresh manure as it scorches the plants, the best manure is soft, dark and full of worms and should not be smelly. Beware of contaminated manure.

Other Organic Mulches to try
Leaf-mould, shredded pruning’s, bark products, hay and straw.

Blanket Mulches
Polythene sheets, carpet (not foam backed), newspapers and cardboard.