A well-made and productive compost heap is a satisfactory affair, affording the keeper an air of quiet superiority. There is plenty of surplus foliage around now to get a new one started. Ideally, the heap should be framed in well-ventilated timber and raised a little off the ground, perhaps on some old bricks. Build up layers of plant material chopped into even pieces, and weigh them down as the heap rises. Keep it moist, not wet or dry, and start the decay process by applying a high-nitrogen ingredient. A small quantity of human urine is ideal-applied discreetly, of course.

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* Gardening calendar: October jobs