Alan Titchmarsh uses carpet to make his compost – find out how and why?

The gardener shares his insightful tips for making the best free compost at home

Each week on 'Grow Your Own At Home With Alan Titchmarsh', the gardener and his team share their wisdom into the world of growing fruit and veg.

Wherever you choose to grow your own – be it garden beds, patio pots or in kitchen planters – this week, Alan revealed his top compost tips to help your efforts succeed.

Read more: How to make compost – feed your garden for free

‘All fruit and veg plants need one thing to thrive, and that is good soil,’ says Alan, his emphasis on the word good. ‘Good soil needs organic matter in it, to provide nutrients and to hold on to moisture.’

‘Those nutrients come from the compost heap,’ he explains.

Alan Titchmarsh's top composting tips

garden with wooden compostbin and copost heap

(Image credit: Future PLC/Gerald Corbett)

 ‘You can buy soil enriched with it in bags of course, but with many of us out mowing and pruning now is a great time to save some pennies,’ he suggests. ‘And create your own garden compost.’

‘A big garden needs a big compost heap, but even a small garden can fit one’. He recommends a wooden composter (such as above) at least a metre square, ‘any smaller and it tends to dry out,’ he says. 

Ensure a good framework, to stop it ‘slivering and sliding all across your garden,' he adds.

What to put on your compost heap

kitchen room with shoes and potato bag

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

‘What do you put in? Your vegetable waste and your weeds. Soft pruning from flowers and lawn mowings,’ he suggests. He warns against adding some common garden weeds. ‘No thick rooted weeds, because they might survive.'

'No food products from the house, no bread, no cooked vegetables,’ he advises. But he goes on to say, ‘Potato peelings are ok, and crushed egg shells are fine – they won’t break down but they’ll give it a bit of body.’

compost heap with wooden compost bin

(Image credit: TI Media)

Once you’ve added all the ingredients, as Alan suggests, he then recommends his unlikely garden tip, which is to use carpet on the compost heap. How and why, you may ask?

He explains, ‘Get a piece of old carpet and chuck it over the top, and that will stop the sun's rays from scoring it’.

You can put a hose pipe on it in really dry weather, but the rest of the time he recommends the carpet covering to help it along on its way.

‘It takes a few months for your compost to be ready, but once you get started you’ll be on a roll’, he says enthusiastically.

Related: Celebrity gardener David Domoney's 1p gardening trick all gardeners need to know!

The gardening legend is on our screens every week teaching us to how to grow fruit and veg. Catch the next 'Grow Your Own at Home With Alan Titchmarsh' next Monday, ITV, at 8.30pm.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.