You will need a wooden box that you can store outside, preferably in a shady spot with good drainage. Start with one or two inches of twigs and branches to create a good drainage system within the compost heap.
What goes in your compost?
To get the most out of your compost pile, you should separate waste into browns and greens. The golden ratio of compost is 3 browns to 1 green. Lay your browns and greens in layers.
Browns are carbon rich materials such as…
- Wood chips
- Corn stalks
Greens are nitrogen rich materials such as…
- Vegetable scraps
- Fruit scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Egg shells
- Cut grass
- Garden clippings such as dead flowers or weeds
When you add to your compost heap, dig a hole in the middle and stir the new stuff in.
Maintaining your compost
Although your decomposing natural waste, there shouldn’t be a bad smell! If it does smell bad, it means there is too much moisture in it so add more browns. If it feels dry, sprinkle a small amount of water on it, or wait for the rain to rebalance it.
You can also check the temperature of the compost to make sure that the microbial activity is at its peak. The compost should be warm to the touch.
You can also keep a cover on the compost to retain its moisture and warmth.
Every few weeks, turn your compost making sure the browns and greens and mixed together evenly. This step also adds oxygen which helps support microbial activity in the compost.
Using your compost
Your compost is ready when it’s a uniform dark color and texture that resembles soil. The key is that it should be odorless. If you’re not sure, you can put some in a plastic bag and seal if for a few days. If it smells worse when you open compared with when you sealed it, your compost needs more time to decompose.
So, why compost?
Compost gives plants the essential nutrients they need to grow as well as improving the soil structure to retain more water. That means better and stronger crops as well as less money and time spent on watering.
It recycles your kitchen and garden waste, diverting it away from landfills.
Compost provides an alternative to chemical fertilisers that can have long lasting effects on soil quality and food safety, which is better for you and the environment.