I would encourage anyone to compost their waste as it’s a great way to use waste to help improve the soil in shrubberies and flower and vegetable beds. But even though I am a fan of composting, I’ve seen many many people try it and fail over the years. That said, I hope these tips will help.
Although some of us have our green waste bin collections, it’s always better to recycle at home.
Composting is environmentally friendly in many other ways too. Food and garden waste make up a significant percentage of general waste. When we recycle our own refuse in this way, we make a contribution to the reduction of this waste.
And when plants and veg are grown in healthy soil, they tend to be healthier as well, and much less prone to disease. Compost in soil helps it retain nutrients and therefore become more efficient in growing plants. Composting will also save you the money you would otherwise spend on bags of manure and fertilisers.
What is compost?
Compost is just decomposed organic material. It is very good for soil because it is rich in nutrients. Anything that was alive at some point will decompose. When material is fully decomposed into compost it becomes a rich, dark soil which can then be used to enrich other soils.
All you need is a little space – even the smallest gardens will have a corner where you can make compost – and a compost bin. The advantage of using a compost bin over the traditional compost heap is that the bin tends to keep the temperature and moisture levels a bit more constant for micro-organisms to do their work in breaking everything down.
When setting up compost, it’s important to have a balance of what are known as ‘browns’ (straw and leaves) and ‘greens’ (food scraps and grass clippings). The balance should be around 25% – 50% green to 50% – 75 % brown.
How to compost
There’s not a great deal to producing compost. Once you’ve achieved the right balance of browns and greens, you can leave the micro organisms to do their work. Around once a month you should turn the heap to let the air get to it. Everything should take around 6 months to fully rot down.
If your compost ends up too wet, slimy and strong smelling, it will be because it hasn’t been turned regularly. If it ends up too dry with not enough decomposition it means there has not been enough green waste.
When you create your own compost, you are helping to ensure that your garden remains healthy and you are contributing in many ways to the future health of the planet.
Happy composting! If you need further advice on this or any aspect of lawn care, please give us a call!
(Photo courtesy of how to compost.org)