A Guide to Composting in Summer: Do's and Don'ts

7th July 2023

Summer is an excellent time to create rich and nourishing compost for your garden. As the mercury rises, so do the metabolic rates of the beneficial organisms that work tirelessly to break down your compost materials into fertile humus. However, summer composting comes with its unique challenges-the heat can also dry out your compost pile or, in some cases, make it too hot. Here's a guide to composting in summer, outlining the important do's and don'ts.


1. Maintain the Correct Moisture Levels:

In summer, the heat and wind can quickly evaporate the water from your compost pile, leaving it too dry. The beneficial microbes in your compost pile require water to survive and function effectively. Thus, make sure to keep your compost heap moist by adding water regularly, but avoid soaking it.

2. Turn the Pile Frequently:

The high summer temperatures accelerate the decomposition process, but they can also lead to an uneven breakdown if the pile isn’t turned regularly. Flip the compost pile every week to help it decompose evenly, and to prevent it from developing an unpleasant odour.

3. Balance Green and Brown Materials:

Your compost pile should have a good mix of green (high in nitrogen) and brown (high in carbon) materials. Green materials include kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and fresh lawn clippings. Brown materials include dry leaves, twigs, straw, and shredded newspaper. A rule of thumb is to maintain a ratio of 2:1 of brown to green materials.

4. Make the Most of Summer Prunings:

Summer is often a time for garden maintenance and cleanup. Prunings from trees and shrubs make excellent additions to the compost pile, providing much-needed carbon to balance the nitrogen from kitchen waste.


1. Don’t Allow the Compost to DryOut Completely:

While it's crucial to prevent the compost pile from becoming too soggy, it's equally important to avoid letting it dry out completely. If the compost pile is too dry, it can halt the composting process.

2. Don’t Forget to Turn the CompostPile:

While turning the compost pile is important in every season, it's particularly crucial in summer. Failure to turn the compost pile can lead to the development of an unpleasant smell as the materials at the centre of the pile may begin to rot instead of composting.

3. Don’t Add Meat or Dairy Products:

Avoid adding meat or dairy products to your compost pile, especially during summer. These materials can attract unwanted pests and create a foul smell.

4. Don’t Neglect the Carbon-Nitrogen Ratio:

Maintaining the right balance of carbon and nitrogen is essential for a healthy compost pile. Neglecting this balance could result in a pile that decomposes too slowly, or a pile that produces an unpleasant smell.


Composting is a rewarding process thatconverts kitchen and garden waste into valuable nutrient-rich compost for your plants. By adhering to these summer composting do's and don'ts, you can maintain a thriving compost pile throughout the hot summer months. Not only will this provide you with high-quality compost for your garden, but it also contributes positively to the environment by reducing landfill waste. Happy composting!

For more information, please contact L&J Outdoor Services.

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