Composting organics is one of the best things that you can do in your garden! It is a great fertiliser but also reduces greenhouse gases, saves water, and reduces waste.
And the best thing is, it can easily be done at home! Compost bins are one system that is easy to set up and maintain and are great for gardeners and cooks alike.
Tip #1 - Add greens
High in nitrogen and have a high water content
Include fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leftovers, chopped garden pruning, aged animal manure, tea bags (that do not contain plastic) and coffee grounds.
Tip #2 -Add browns
An important source of carbon
Includes autumn leaves, toilet rolls & coffee filters, torn newspaper, napkins, paper straws, paper bags & cardboard takeaway containers, used tissues & paper towel, ripped cardboard boxes & egg cartons
Avoid highly coloured or glossy paper & rip up any additions into smaller pieces
"Do not compost cat poo as this carries disease. Dog poo can be added to worm farms used exclusively for feeding ornamental gardens but do not use on any edible garden beds. "
Tip #3 - Aerate
Compost needs to breathe and aerating provides oxygen to microorganisms in the compost
Use a compost turner to help with this
Tip #4 - Moisture
Compost should be as wet as a wrung-out sponge
Greens = moisture. Balance out wet compost with more carbon or dry compost with the addition of water
Tip #5 - Layer
Compost bins require a strict layering system of carbon and nitrogen ingredients (approximately 50:50) in order to maintain a healthy environment. See diagram for more information.
When will the compost be ready to use?
It should appear dark in colour, like 70% dark chocolate
It should smell sweet and earthy
It should also appear crumbly in texture, and you shouldn’t be able to recognise any organic products that you added in
Can I put lemons and onions in my compost?
Yes, but make sure they are cut up into small pieces and are only added in small amounts. Moderation is key.
Can I put cat and dog poo in my compost system?
Do not compost cat poo as this carries disease. Dog poo can be added to worm farms used exclusively for feeding ornamental gardens but do not use on any edible garden beds.
Can I put meat and dairy in my compost?
Yes, but always make sure that meat is chopped up small and added in moderation. Bones will not compost well in a cold compost system. Be aware that this may increase the attention of rodents so look at rodent-proofing your system if planning to compost meat and dairy.
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