Strange title? Okay so I might be extrapolating a little but when I was taking a pic of my fruit and veges scraps, I just thought all the colours were so pretty. Don’t you agree? And it becomes something beautiful too – compost!
I haven’t done a garden update for awhile as every time I seem to make progress out there we get huge downpours and all my hard work gets trampled by the rain. Perhaps I am not meant to be a winter gardener….
Although my parsley has gone mad so that’s one saving grace.
Anyway, one thing I have been doing recently is composting. It’s pretty jolly easy to do and you save a bit of space in your general garbage bin. It’s also become a bit of an obsession, so much so that I considered taking our empty edamame pods from a restaurant the other day. Don’t worry, I didn’t do it!
A beginners guide to composting
First of all, why compost? For two reasons – it recycles most of your organic kitchen and garden waste and it enriches your garden soil.
So here are the steps:
Where: Place your compost bin in a shady, well-drained area. Too much such can dry the compost out.
How: We can break down what to compost into 4 easy groups
1) Green Ingredients: Compost needs a mixture of nitrogen rich organic materials such as fruit and vegetable peelings, tea bags and leaves, coffee grounds, dead flowers and green garden vegetation such as fresh grass clippings and green leaves.
2) Brown Ingredients: Nitrogen-poor, carbon-rich materials such as dry leaves, woody twigs, shredded paper and straw.
4) Some soil or completed compost to introduce composting micro-organisms
Then we need to layer them. Start with a thick layer of coarse material (~15cm), such as twigs or mulch, this is used for drainage. Top this with layers of 1) 2) and 3). Add just a little water after each layer to keep the heap moist but not wet. Then repeat layers 1) 2) and 3). Finish with a layer of 4). Sprinkling soil or finished compost on top of food scraps will make a richer compost and help reduce smells. Make sure you keep your compost bin covered to avoid rats and other vermin.
When: Turn your compost with a garden fork on a weekly basis to keep it well aerated. This will help prevent bad smells. Depending on the mix of ingredients the compost can turn into a rich soil anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months.
Some things NOT to add to your compost
Meat and dairy products
Metals, plastic, glass
Animal manures (especially the droppings of cats and dogs)
Weeds that have seeds or underground stems
Bread or cake (may attract mice)
Sawdust from treated timber