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How to make your own compost


How to make your own compost

Posted on: April 20, 2016

Making your own garden compost is a lot easier than most people think. It’s a cheap and natural way to fertilise your garden.

The great thing about Autumn is that it’s the perfect time to start your own compost bin. Leaves are starting to fall from trees and it’s almost a crime to put them in your green bin and not turn them into compost for your garden.

Having two or more composts is best. While you are using one lot the next batch it being created, keeping an on going, regular supply. They don't take up much room and will reward you with beautiful, rich, homemade compost for your garden. You can make your own compost bin from materials like netting or meshing or you can purchase one of the ready-to-use plastic units. There are numerous styles to suit every space.

4 Simple steps to creating great compost

1. Choose a location

It's important to find a suitable spot for your compost. To ensure your compost doesn’t dry out, a semi shaded area in a backyard is perfect.

2. What to compost (and what not to compost)

Green ingredients:

  • Fruit scraps
  • Vegetable scraps
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea Bags
  • Grass and plant clippings

Brown ingredients:

  • Fallen leaves
  • Dead flowers
  • Potting mix
  • Finely chopped wood and bark chips
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Straw
  • Sawdust from untreated wood

Hint: Make sure your material is cut into small pieces as these will break down more rapidly.

What not to add to your compost:

  • Anything containing meat, oil, fat, or grease
  • Diseased plant materials
  • Sawdust or chips from pressure-treated wood
  • Weeds that go to seed
  • Dairy products

3. Layering

Lay your dry matter such as twigs and straw at the bottom of your compost. This will aid drainage and help aerate the compost. Continue to add compost materials in layers, ensuring you alternate between dry and wet. Wet ingredient includes food scraps and teabags. Dry ingredients include newspaper, sawdust and leaves.

It's important to cover your compost to retain moisture and heat.

4. Maintenance

Turn your compost pile every few weeks with a garden fork to aerate the compost and to prevent it from getting smelly. This will also speed the composting process along. When adding new materials to your established compost, mix them in instead of layering.

Sprinkle water over the pile regularly but don't add too much water -- otherwise the microorganisms in your pile will become waterlogged and drown. If this happens, your pile will rot instead of compost.

Depending on the mix of ingredients the duration for the compost to turn into a rich soil can be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months.

If you're interested in starting composting, Stratco has a range of compost bins and related products avaliable