Gardens

Monty Don's warning about compost – heed his advice or risk attracting rats

The Gardener's World presenter shared his compost tips and a word of warning about what we should and shouldn't be composting

Monty Don – compost tips and rats
(Image credit: Alamy)

Monty Don is a font of gardening knowledge; he can name pretty much any plant on sight and is bursting with tips to keep your garden in bloom. In one of the latest episodes of BBC Two’s Gardener’s World Monty Don shared compost tips, but he also had a warning.

The Gardener’s World presenter revealed in a winter garden special that compost could attract rats. Composting is a brilliant way to get rid of kitchen waste and feed your garden. However, the gardening expert warned that you need to be careful what you throw on your compost heap.

‘The real secret of compost is life to soil,’ explains Monty on the show. ‘Because compost is made by the material being digested, by bacteria and fungi and nematodes and the worms and beetles and bugs, you make it work like a recipe that you know just works and works over time,' he said.

compost tips

(Image credit: Simon Whitmore)

‘So let’s look at it like a recipe,’ he continued. ‘First thing is your ingredients. You can add almost anything that’s lived to a compost heap.’

However, his compost tips come with one big exception. ‘Don’t add meat, fats or cooked material,’ he says. ‘Particularly cooked starches like potato or rice or pasta.’

‘The main reason for that is not that it won’t decompose, because it will in time, but it will so more slowly. It will attract rodents. You will get rats,’ he warned.

compost heap tips

(Image credit: Getty / Colin McPherson / Contributor)

‘Almost everything else from the garden and the house can go on,’ he assures. ‘For example, kitchen waste like eggshells and banana skins can definitely go on.’

If you don’t have the space for a compost pile or heap or are nervous about attracting wildlife, it might be worth investing in a hot composting bin. The bin does all the hard work for you a lot quicker.

Monty Don regularly shares advice and tips on BBC Two’s Gardener's World, alongside a team of expert gardeners. The show has been running since 1960, and is bursting with ways to help gardeners build up their expertise.