Why don’t you learn to…

Compost @ Home

Follow our easy beginner’s guide to composting at home!

What is compost?

Compost is a growing medium, made up of a balanced mix of decomposed organic materials, often otherwise regarded as waste products, such as veg peelings, grass cuttings and dried leaves. A good compost is rich in plant nutrients and beneficial organisms, which can help your plants to thrive.

Why should I compost?

Composting turns your waste into “gardener’s gold”. It is the perfect food for your growing space that will, in turn, make food for you…win win! You will save money on buying compost for your garden, it’s fun and it’s good for the planet!

What You Will Need:

  • Compost bin
  • Food scraps
  • Some soil
  • A few worms (if not already in the soil!)
  • Fork/stick for stirring (not essential)

Method:

  1. Aim to keep a ratio of 40% greens to 60% browns. It’s great if you can have a little stash of leaves kept to the side and add a couple of handfuls whenever you add in some kitchen waste.
  2. If it looks a little dry, add some water, but this shouldn’t be a problem if it’s in the shade. There is a lot of moisture in greens!
  3. If it looks a little slimy or smells yucky it might be a good idea to give it a stir with a garden fork or a big stick for a bit of aeration.
  4. Then it’s a waiting game…
  5. When your bin is full (this may take up to a year), you should have some compost ready to use at the bottom.

What are greens?

  • Grass & hedge clippings

  • Fruit & vegetable peelings
  • Tea & coffee grinds
  • Manure from vegetarian animals e.g. chickens or horses
  • Cut flowers

What are browns?

  • Dried leaves

  • Wood cuttings

  • Paper & cardboard

  • Straw & hay

  • Egg shells

What are greens?

  • Grass & hedge clippings

  • Fruit & vegetable peelings
  • Tea & coffee grinds
  • Manure from vegetarian animals e.g. chickens or horses
  • Cut flowers

What are browns?

  • Dried leaves

  • Wood cuttings

  • Paper & cardboard

  • Straw & hay

  • Egg shells

What to avoid:

  • Cooked foods (this may encourage rodents!)

  • Bread/grains

  • Toxic chemicals (lots of herbicides that are applied to grass will contaminate compost and then your veg!)
  • Diseased plant material

Composting

Composting Myth Busting!

“Composting attracts rodents.” – This risk can be cut down by avoiding adding any cooked foods to your compost bin.

“Compost smells bad.” – This can happen if your heap is unbalanced in greens and browns! However, if you empty your kitchen food waste often, the smell won’t linger inside. Add more browns to the mix if it gets smelly and slimy and also give it a stir as a bit of aeration will help.

“Compost attracts flies.” – Flies can be reduced if you ‘bury’ each addition of food waste.

“It is hard work.” – Cold composting is the easiest method as all you have to do is build up compost in a container, but it is a very slow process.

“You can only compost with a garden.” – This is not true! It’s great for all your potted plants, but just be aware that the ‘juice’ will come out of the bottom; this juice is fantastic for plants, but will stain slabs! Your set-up is better off in an inconspicuous spot.

“My compost needs to be in the sun.” – This is not true! The best spot for your compost bin is dappled sunlight, many of the ‘dalek-type’ composters get too hot and dry out in full sun; those poor worms! The best place for your compost bin is close enough to the kitchen so that it’s not a huge hassle to empty your kitchen caddy, but not so close that if it is smelly it wafts into your home.

Other Composting Methods:

  • Bokashi Composting: Fermenting food waste using anaerobic process. This works for meat and pasta and is a popular form of composting in Asia.
  • Vermi-Composting: Using worms for a quicker composting method (also called wormeries).
  • Hot Composting: If you have lots of green waste and a machinery system to move it! This is a good method often used by councils and large gardens.
Ready Compost!

If you have any questions about composting, please don’t hesitate to pop an email to Emily. She will be more than happy to answer any questions you have and to help you to get started!

Time is short and the solutions are simple.

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