Composting is an easy way to reduce the amount of things you have to throw away, and also produce a free source of rich soil that you can grow plants in in your garden. Starting a compost heap is very easy, and doesn’t require a degree in biology, but it is important to know how composting actually works to end up with a really effective compost heap that decomposes properly and produces good soil. Here is all the info you need to be able to build and maintain a good compost heap in your own garden:
Keep It Contained
It isn’t essential to have a bin or home for your compost heap – you can actually just reserve a space in your garden and pile stuff up. However, this can lead to unwanted animal and insect visitors (given you are likely to be including vegetable matter in there, which can seem like appealing food to critters), and can also be messy and smelly. For these reasons, it is best to buy or build a wooden trough to keep your compost in. When buying or creating your compost bin, think about volume – you are likely to produce quite a lot of compostable waste, and it takes time to break down, so don’t necessarily go for the smallest dimensions unless you are limited for space. Most composting processes require air, so a wooden container is better than plastic which may limit the ability for air to get to the microbes breaking down your composting materials.
Balance Out Your Materials
The typical things you can throw away in your compost heap are mainly defined as either ‘green’ or ‘brown’. Green materials will mostly be food waste from fruit and vegetables, for example old, unwanted veggies, peelings, apple cores, and other such materials. These are rich in nitrogen, which adds heat to the processes needed to aid composting. Brown materials are drier things that add fibre to the processes, and these will normally be things like dead leaves and dried up flowers from flower displays. You can also, believe it or not, add other organic materials like egg shells, and old hair taken from your hairbrush (or your pets’ brushes), as well as paper (though not glossy magazines) and even torn up remains of organic cotton clothing, though you don’t want too much of this stuff as it is slower to break down than more typical materials. You can also include slow rotting garden waste, like branches, but again, this is not something you will want too much of, so if you have had a lot of work done on your trees it is better to have larger pieces taken away by a garden waste removal company than trying to compost them.
Once you have your compost heap up and running, all you have to do is turn over the compost and matter that is composting about once a week and make sure you keep a good balance of stuff in there. You will then have a compost heap that doesn’t smell bad, and produces good, rich compost your plants will thrive on!