An autumn compost is a strong start to a spring bed

I love a quick job with big outcomes – autumn compost piles are just that. They’re easily put together, followed by put your feet up and let nature do the work. Use them as a spray free, no sweat, most excellent way to begin a new spring garden bed – read on!

compost pile

Autumn is heaven for compost makers, there’s heaps of stuff begging to be composted! Use finished crops and flowers – beans, tomatoes, zucchini, squash vines, dahlias, anenomes, zinnias et all. Add weeds (no reproductive bits of those you don’t want to return) and path clearings and any other foraged treasure and pile them up in my easy peasy way. Create as many piles of goodness as you can – your spring crops will never look so good!

easy compost

Because a pile of rotting organic matter draws worms and a multitude of beneficial soil life it makes sense to position it where you’ll reap the benefits. Around the edge of the veggie patch is my usual, or directly on top of a veggie bed that’s at rest. If you have room I love this because there is no double handling, simply spread it out when its ready.

Make a new bed

For a strong beginning to a new spring bed – make an autumn compost pile on the spot where your bed is going to be. Because the compost pile eliminates light + air the grass is killed off without the insanity of spraying or digging. Pernicious weeds like convulvulus or blackberry or dock should be grubbed out and eliminated first.

Depending on how far you need to wander to collect your organic matter, this outstanding start to your new bed is a very quick job. If you worry that making your own compost is too much of a mission, then you need to read my simple compost making ways.

From lawn to garden

Planting up the lawn at edible backyard

For the past few years I’ve been planting up our front lawn.

This same lawn was where we used to play rugby and kick balls, but those days are gone and a garden should evolve alongside the needs of its people.

Easy peasy compost - Kath Irvine styles

Starting from the outside edge and working my way in, each year a new strip of cardboard and mulch increases the garden and decreases the lawn. This compost pile is the precursor to a lemon tree that’ll be planted in spring. Goodbye grass, hello food.

How to:

Lay cardboard/ newspaper/ old towels – whatever is past its best, directly on top of the grass and build your compost pile on top. Tip over a bucket of EM, liquid feed or water with a big tablespoon of molasses dissolved in it.

A fadge covers the compost at Edible Backyard

Cover it for best results. My favourite cover because its just too damn easy – is a fadge (a wool sack).


  1. Karen Gillooly says

    Hi Cath,

    Where do you get the wool sacks from, and what could I use as an alternative. Many thanks.

  2. Karen Gillooly says

    Brilliant. Thank you so much Kath.

  3. Laurie Bonsor says

    Could you use those big dod biscuit bags??