Making your own compost is the key element to organic gardening. It is often described a being a little bit too complex to make. In reality though all you need to do is supply the right ingredients and let nature take care of the rest.
- It’s Good For The Environment- You can recycle your kitchen and garden scraps instead of throwing them out. You can even include paper waste to the mixture!
- New Nutrients For Your Produce- You’ll have the opportunity to introduce new soil nutrients to your produce
- Decrease Your Enviro-Footprint- Food waste is being upcycled rather than going to landfills
The Simple Way to Compost
Here are a few simple steps you can follow to get your own home compost pile started.
- Start your compost pile on a free land space and on a bed of straw, that way the compost can react with the air and drain more easily.
- Next add your compost materials in layers making sure that you alternate between wet materials and dry materials. Creating this balance allows for the compost to not clump or dry out.
- Next we need to add a nitrogen source, as the optimal conditions for decomposition are: Air + Water + Carbon + Nitrogen. This is why we add manure, which will activate the compost and speed up the process. Please bare in mind that a good compost heap should have more carbon, wood chips, sticks, egg shells or even coffee filters, etc than manure. A rule worth sticking to is using one third nitrogen – two thirds carbon . We don’t want a smelly compost heap after all!
- Finally, cover the compost with a plastic sheet to keep in the heat, moisture and make sure you keep the rain from washing it out!
A good tip to keep away flies and insects is to cover any exposed fruit, so keep a bucket of grass clipping next to your compost and sprinkle it on top when you are adding fruit to the compost.
Materials You CAN Compost
Paper, tea bags, egg shells, food scraps, coffee filters & grounds, peels, vegetables, tissues, and garden waste.
All of these will degrade and add nutrients to the soil and will more than likely not attract pests.
Materials You can NOT Compost
Meat, bones, dairy, pet faeces, chemicals, plastic or citrus
While most of these will most certainly degrade, they will be attractive to pests or destructive to plants.
Final Word: Tips & Solutions:
- Your compost is ready when you have a thick black slop that you can scoop out.
- If your pile dries out get out your garden hose and add a bit of moisture, especially in the warmer months.
- Give your compost plenty of air, make sure that the organisms are getting a healthy supply of oxygen.
- To speed up the the rate of compost increase the surface area as it is easier for the organisms to break it down.
- Compost should be used as a growing additive and not exclusively in the pot or garden bed.
We hope this inspires you to create your own compost – Please let us know how it goes!