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.
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)
Grass and plant clippings
Finely chopped wood and bark chips
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
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.
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.