Simple tips to help you with your composting

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Composting is not just for gardeners - it helps the environment too.

Every year thousands of tonnes of kitchen and garden waste are thrown in the dustbin, which usually ends up in expensive, unsightly and environmentally damaging landfill sites.

Up to 35% of household waste is organic and suitable for home composting. Simply put it in a compost bin and leave it to breakdown for a few months. The end result is a rich nutritious crumbly compost which can be dug into the garden to improve soil structure. It can also be used as a mulch to suppress weeds and improve drainage

Composting is an entirely natural process carried out by worms and a myriad of tiny creatures, many of them too small to be seen by the naked eye.

Composting Tips

  • Site your compost bin in a sunny spot if possible. The plastic will absorb the sun’s UV rays and heat up the compost.
  • To get the compost started you can use an activator, which helps speed up the composting process. We recommend ‘Organica’, a natural liquid which has a good reputation among gardening experts.
  • Good aeration is required to produce the best compost. To help aerate your bin you can add scrunched up newspaper which creates air pockets or alternatively invest in a compost aerator which is specially designed to reach deep into the compost bin to mix and aerate it.
  • It is essential to have a good mix of waste material in your composter to aid decomposition, ie. grass, paper, leaves, fruit & vegetable peelings.  Add the different types of material in layers - approximately 3” to 6” deep.
  • Get yourself a kitchen caddy to collect scraps. It saves time and the effort of having to nip out to the compost bin every time you prepare a meal.

Hot Composting Recipes

Composting is often viewed as a process rather like cooking. The following recipes recommend a mix of ingredients that will result in the very best quality compost.  In time you will learn which ingredients work best for yourself.  The idea is to get a good balance of brown carbon rich materials (i.e. leaves and wood shavings) and nitrogen rich materials (grass clippings, weeds, food scraps).

Recipe 1

  • 2 parts dry leaves
  • 2 parts straw or wood shavings
  • 1 part manure
  • 1 part fresh grass clippings
  • 1 Part fresh garden weeds
  • 1 part food scraps

Recipe 2

  • 2 parts dry leaves
  • 1 part fresh grass clippings
  • 1 part fresh garden leaves
  • 1 part food scraps

Condiments

Any of the following will add nutrients to your compost mix.  These materials are not necessary but can be beneficial to the process.  Sprinkle like salt the condiments onto your compost.

  • Garden soil is full of micro-organisms - half shovel maximum.  Too much will slow the process down.
  • Finished compost is also full of micro-organisms - half shovel maximum. Again, too much will slow the process down.
  • Bone / blood meal - nitrogen activators. Use sparingly.
  • Fireplace ashes are high in potash and carbon.  Can be mixed in when you have a lot of nitrogen rich material (e.g. grass).

For more tips visit our website at www.evengreener.com.

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