Introduction to Composting
It is easy, it’s great for the environment and it will result in amazing nutrient soil that surpasses anything you can buy from a shop! When organic matter such as leaves, grass clippings and food scraps break down, you get compost, a dark dirt-like “soil” that is rich in nutrients. Compost happened in without human involvement; for example, the leaves that fall on the forest floor (or even in your garden) will compost and return much-needed nutrients to the soil, like a slow-release fertiliser. Some of the additional benefits are that you will reduce the amount of rubbish you produce and keep things out of the dump.
Food and garden waste makes up 25% of all waste in landfills. Although these natural materials are biodegradable, they do not break down properly in landfills, which are so densely packed that oxygen isn’t readily available. When oxygen is withheld during the decomposition process, the organic matter may emit methane gas, which is 20 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. Composting is the most natural and beneficial thing we can do for our gardens, flowers, vegetables plants and trees to replenish nutrients, improve drainage and water retention, and protect plant roots when used as mulch.
- Sealed bucket or container to store kitchen scraps
- Spade & trowel
- Partially shaded spot in your garden (if you have pets put a little wire mesh fencing around it to keep them from stealing extra food)
What can be composted?
- Newspaper, non glossy cardboard, paper towels
- Fruit & vegetables (and egg shells)
- Coffee grounds
- Flowers & plants
What can’t be composted?
- Dairy products
- Processed foods
- Man made substances
How to compost
Keep your compost bucket in your kitchen. We would recommend under the sink, but if you have a pretty container you can leave it on the worktop. After cutting vegetables or fruit, toss the scraps in the bucket. Coffee grounds can get thrown in filter and all. Egg shells (believe it or not) are also great for compost. When the bucket is full, dump your scraps outside in the compost. Your pile doesn’t have to be anything special. Some people simply have a hole in the ground. A shady spot is ideal so the pile doesn’t get dried out. If you’ve had a dry spell for a while, go ahead and water the pile. Occasionally thrown in some torn up strips of newspaper to add some “carbon” source to the pile. The key to a healthy compost is to have a good mixture of green (nitrogen rich) versus brown (carbon rich) materials. Don’t overload on grass clippings or garden waste.
Every so often just flip some fresh soil on top of the scraps and walk away! Go back in 2-3 weeks and check the progress of your magnificent garden soil.