Have you ever wanted to start a composting heap but aren’t sure how? It’s easy – follow these key tips to creating healthy compost that will enhance your soil and feed your plants.
Composting is an excellent way to recycle your kitchen scraps and garden waste. Compost transforms a poor soil into a productive one and is a natural fertiliser for your plants. Compost reduces your organic waste to landfill and saves you money.
How does composting work?
Well run composting systems need a balance of ingredients. The basic rules for building a composting heap is to have four essential ingredients – carbon (brown waste), nitrogen (green waste), air (oxygen) and water.
Add materials in layers ie place nitrogen rich ingredients such as grass clippings or veggie scraps between carbon rich ingredients such as dry leaf litter or shredded newspaper. Ensure the heap is moist but not wet and turn it regularly to include air. It’s as simple as that.
What to put in your compost heap?
Kitchen scraps such as vegetable and fruit peelings, tea leaves and coffee grinds, garden waste such as soft prunings and lawn clippings. Aged animal manures, shredded newspapers, pizza boxes or waste paper (not glossy). Autumn leaves, straw, vacuum cleaner dust and hair clippings.
How to make compost?
1. Place composing materials in a bin or on a heap located on soil. This will allow for good drainage and for composting worms and bacteria to enter the bin and to start the decomposition of your waste.
2. Make sure you have a balance of materials that include green waste, brown waste, moisture and oxygen.
3. For effective composting, layer your carbon and nitrogen ingredients, add water but only enough so that the contents are moist but not wet. Regularly turn the compost to add oxygen. Put it in a sunny place to keep it warm.
• place your composting system on soil not paved surfaces.
• insert some slotted pipe in the middle of your heap to improve air circulation.
• turn your compost regularly.
• add meat and dairy products as they will attract pests.
• add pet waste.
• add weeds with seed heads or invasive roots.