Compost is the life cycle that nature uses to replenish itself. Making compost has been around since Adam ate the first apple – in biblical days it was law that every seven years crops were left to fall and feed the ground.
The art of composting is as simple or as complex as you want to make it.
In its simplest form you can dig a hole and fill it with your organic scraps and materials that you’ve used around your home, cover with soil and let nature take care of business.
For a more structured process you will need to invest some time or money in building a compost bin. One is a start, two are good but a set of three bins will definitely produce a good amount of compost.
Here are some useful tips when composting:
Every compost bin will need these four things to work, just like four legs to a table: Greens, Browns, Water and Air.
- Greens for nitrogen: Grass clippings, corn husks, tea bags, old flowers, last seasons bedding plants, vegetable peelings, salad leaves, fruit scraps, annual weeds, rhubarb leaves, and the worm’s favourite: coffee grounds.
- Brown material to add carbon: Untreated sawdust, brown paper bags, toilet paper cores, paper towel core, paper egg carton, corn stalks and cobs, shredded black and white newspaper crushed eggshell, cereal boxes, ashes from the fire sticks and charcoal, wood chip, string, cotton thread and feathers. Always shred your paper and tear up any cardboard.
- Water: Keep your mix moist but not super wet – just mist the bins every few days.
- Air flow is king of the pile. It’s what keeps everything living and working while you’re resting – every time you go to add to the mix, always give it a good forking first to let the air in.
- The big no-no: Never compost fats or meat. These items can spread disease and attract unwanted vermin.
- Adding 100 g per square meter of hydrated lime when you turn your compost mix will accelerate the decomposition of organic matter while at the same time neutralising the acid.
- Don’t add too many ashes to your compost bin. They are alkaline and affect the pH balance.
- Try to avoid plants that have been treated with pesticides and/or herbicides.
- Algae and seaweed make excellent ingredients for compost, but don’t forget to rinse off any salts.
- Finished compost will be about half of the volume of the materials that you started with, but will be much more dense the compost should look, feel and small like a rich dark soil. None of the items you put in there should be recognisable.
If you’re interested in getting set up with a sustainable garden, consult us today and we can set you up with the right tools.