The lowdown on all things composting
Composting is the perfect way to reduce your food waste while creating an all natural alternative to chemical fertiliser.
Home composting is one of the easiest ways you can minimise your impact on the environment by reducing your household food waste.
Once your compost has matured, you can use it as mulch to lock in moisture or mix with soil to help plants thrive or as a lawn top dressing for thicker, healthier grass. Compost is a convenient and cost-effective way to create your own fertiliser and improve your garden, all while reducing your impact on the environment.
What is compost?
Compost is decayed organic matter. Leaves, vegetable waste, eggshells tea bags and coffee grinds and much more can all be composted.
Almost any plant matter can be safely composted – just remember, nothing animal based should be composted! And no pet’s poop, while it may be ‘organic’, it can transmit harmful parasites.
Many types of food and kitchen scraps can be composted at home
Ideally, compost should be four parts ‘brown’ matter and one part ‘green’ materials:
- Brown materials are dry or woody plant material. Usually, they are brown in colour or naturally turn brown. For example leaves, corn stalks or paper.
- Green materials include fresh items such as eggshells, fruit and vegetable scarps or coffee grounds and tea bags.
Here are three easy methods of composting to get you started. If you’re unsure where to start, talk to your local garden centre about what method will work best for you.
The original method
A tried and tested technique, the original method assigns a designated area for a compost pit and layer brown, then green materials, followed by soil.
In the first three weeks, remember to turn the pile every two to three days before moving to monthly turning. Layers should be continued until you have a 1.5 metre pile that is mature and ready for use.
Providing the most fertile soil improver of the methods, worm composting calls for a certain kind of worm, red wiggler earthworms or redworms. Worms can be found in mature compost heaps or bought from a store.
Using a box, plastic bin or crate to house your worms, ensure the compost has adequate drainage and a temperature of 13-25°c. Keeping each feed (what you add to the compost) at about 3.5L is the ideal portion size will help avoid overfeeding the worms.
Click here for information on setting up your own worm farm at home.
Worm composting helps you dispose of organic waste while giving the worms a happy home
If you live in an apartment or have limited space, then an indoor compost bin could be the perfect option.
Much smaller and faster to compost than outdoor bins, saving your food scraps in a sealed container will ensure adequate moisture, heat retention and airflow to encourage decomposition. This indoor alternative usually takes from two to three months before being garden ready.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Resimac.