Your Four Step Guide to Creating Great Compost
- Choose a Site:Place your compost heap or bin in a well-drained area that has some shade. Too much sun will dry out your compost.
- What to Compost:
- Green Ingredients: Compost needs a mixture of nitrogen rich organic materials such as fruit and vegetable peelings, and green garden vegetation such as fresh grass clippings and green leaves.
- Brown Ingredients: Nitrogen-poor, carbon rich materials such as dry leaves, woody twigs, paper and straw.
- Some soil or completed compost to introduce composting micro-organisms
- Layering:Start with a thick layer of coarse material (~15cm), such as twigs or mulch, this is used for drainage. Then follow with a layered A,B,C system using the materials above A. Garden clippings and kitchen scraps, B. Dry leaves and paper (wet). C. Add water after each layer to keep the heap moist but not wet. Then repeat steps ABC. Finish with step D. Sprinkling soil or finished compost on top of food scraps will make a richer compost and help reduce odours.
- Maintaining Your Compost:Keep your compost well aerated to prevent foul odours or methane. Turn your compost with a garden fork on a weekly basis. Otherwise place garden stakes or pipes through the heap to allow air in.
Depending on the mix of ingredients the duration for the compost to turn into a rich soil can be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months.
Hint: Cover your heap so that it is just moist, not wet. If it is wet or saturated mix more dry brown material through it and turn.
Hint: If you wish, add compost accelerator (young nettles are an excellent natural accelerator) to help speed up the composting process.
What to add to a Compost Heap
- Vegetable and food scraps
- Fallen leaves (in layers)
- Tea leaves and tea bags
- Coffee grounds
- Vacuum cleaner dust
- Soft stems
- Dead flowers
- Old potting mix
- Used vegetable cooking oil
- Egg shells
- Old newspapers (wet)
- Grass cuttings in layers
- Sawdust (not from treated timber)
- Wood ash
- Human and animal hair
What not to add to a Compost Heap
- Meat and dairy products
- Diseased plants
- Metals, plastic, glass
- Animal manures (especially the droppings of cats and dogs)
- Large branches
- Weeds that have seeds or underground stems
- Bread or cake (may attract mice)
- Sawdust from treated timber
Here is a lovely comprehensive blog about composting –
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