Have you thought about home composting?
With many councils across the country suspending their garden waste collections, now more than ever may be the time to start (if you haven’t already)! We've put together this handy guide so that you can convert kitchen and garden waste into a nutrient-rich organic matter that can be recycled into your garden.
What are the benefits of composting?
Adding compost to your garden does wonders to the quality of your soil as it retains moisture. It improves the soil structure, meaning garden plants grow healthier and stronger. The need to add chemical fertilisers when gardening is also reduced.
From a sustainability point of view, composting also reduces the amount of waste going to landfill and significantly lowers carbon footprint.
How can I start composting at my home?
Some of our homes come with a composting bin, which is very easy to use but if you don’t have one, don’t worry, you can also purchase or order them from a wide range of retailers. An alternative is to place fruit and vegetable waste along with garden waste into a dry, shady spot of your garden near a water source. It takes between 9 and 12 months for your compost to be ready for use.
What can go into a composting bin?
To make the best compost, we recommend you use a balance of 50% ‘greens’ and 50% ‘browns’ in your bin to get the right mix. Organic matter high in carbon (commonly called browns) provides energy for decomposer organisms as they consume and break down the contents of your compost pile. Browns include dry leaves, woody plant trimmings, egg boxes and egg shells, sawdust and cardboard products.
Meanwhile, organic matter high in nitrogen (greens) supplies the decomposers with protein. These include kitchen scraps (carrot tops, citrus peel, sprout stalks), coffee grounds, tea bags, leafy plant trimmings and garden waste (grass mowing’s and nettles). If your compost is too wet, add more ‘browns’. If it’s too dry, add some ‘greens’.
Don’t forget that not everything will decompose. Make sure you keep any of the following listed items out of your compost bin: bones, bread, cans, cat litter, cigarettes, cling film, coal and ash, dairy products, dog food, drink cartons, meat and fish scraps, olive oil, tissues, plastic bags and bottles.
How do I know when the compost is ready to use?
As soon as the material at the bottom is dark and rich in colour, you’re ready to go!