Composting is a great way to make good use of lots of your kitchen scraps and your garden waste. It is a process that produces compost that can be added to soil to help your plants and crops grow.
A big Thank You to Mary for our wonderful compost bin at the Community Orchard.
What is soil?
Soil is made mostly from rocks, but also dead plants, animals, air and water. Natural erosion takes hundreds or thousands of years to break these materials down to form soil. It is a finite resource, like natural gas.
Why is it important?
provides essential nutrients for our trees, plants and crops.
filters contaminates from our water and slows down and absorbs water to help against flooding
is home to one third of all life on earth lives in soil - most of which can not be seen with the naked eye.
helps regulate the Earth's temperature as well as many of the green house gasses.
Compost does not replace soil but it feeds and enhances what is already there to help your garden.
Composting can be done all year round. It takes anywhere between 6 and 12 months for your compost to be ready for use.
You can use a compost bin which will help keep the compost warm and damp, but you can make a traditional compost heap. Either should be placed on earth for drainage and to allow the organisms to get easy access to the compost. Compost bins and heaps thrive away from extreme heat and wet, a shady or lightly shaded area is ideal.
What goes in to your compost?
25-50% Green matter - this can be kitchen scraps, grass cuttings, weeds
50% Brown matter - this can be twigs, dead leaves, wood chippings, straw, cardboard
Mixing the green matter with the brown keeps the compost heap aerated - it is important for the air to be able to circulate as this stops the contents of your bin from turning slimy, damp and compacted. You can also turn the contents of your bin to aid this and to speed up the rate of decomposition.
If your compost bin is too wet you need to add more brown matter.
If your compost bin is too dry you need to add more green matter.
If your compost bin has flies, they are most likely being attracted by kitchen waste. Putting garden waste on top of it will reduce this.
What doesn't go into your compost?
Meat, fish, eggs, poultry scraps, dairy products, fats, grease and lard can attract pests.
Coal and charcoal ash is harmful to plants.
Diseased or insect ridden plant waste and pet waste are full of parasites and germs.
Any garden waste treated with pesticides will kill the organisms living in it - they are essential to the composting process.
Find more information in the websites below:
Find out what could be living in your compost bin.