July 7, 2020 by Tor Park
Home composting is the most environmentally friendly way of dealing with kitchen and garden waste, plus it produces compost that can be used as an excellent soil improver. Read on below for out top tips on to compost at home.
The site and container
- The site should not be subject to extreme temperatures or moisture – microorganisms work most effectively in constant conditions;
- Composting often works better in shady areas of the garden;
- And larger bins are much more effective than smaller bins (less than 1 cubic metre);
Some common composting materials
- Green: Grass clippings; soft, leafy plants including annual weeds; fruit and vegetables, uncooked kitchen waste; selected pet waste/bedding;
- Brown: prunings and hedge trimmings (ideally shredded), woodchip, leaves, paper and card (torn up or shredded), straw, plant stems;
- Accelerators and activators: Products such as ‘Garotta’ are sometimes added where green waste is in short supply. They contain high levels of nitrogen but should not be necessary if green waste is plentiful.
Getting the right balance of composting materials
- 25-50% soft green materials;
- And the remainder should be woody brown material
Turning the heap
- Turning the heap adds air which is essential for composting to occur;
- Ideally, placing a lot of composting materials on the heap in one go and then turning it periodically each month to introduce air works effectively;
- However, many gardens are unable to add a lot of waste in one go and tend to accumulate gradually. The consistency of home-made compost isn’t as perfect, but it is still effective;
- Turning gives you an opportunity to assess the moisture level which must be monitored particularly in dry weather.
When Is the compost ready?
- Garden compost can take between 6 months – 2 years to reach maturity;
- Mature compost will be dark brown, with a crumbly soil-like texture and a smell resembling damp woodland.
Go green – if a quarter of us switched from dumping organic waste in landfill sites to composting it, 2.5m tonnes of CO2 would be saved from reaching the atmosphere each year!
For more fun facts, take our composting quiz on Instagram highlights to test your knowledge.
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