Compost DIY

compost binI am always looking at more ways in which I can reduce the waste coming out of the home so that the fullest bin is the recycling ones and the black bin is never full. Depending on your local council,l recycling can be easy but a lot of councils including our own no longer do green recycling so we have to get rid of it in another way (or pay for the privilege). If you have a garden the best way to get rid of your organic waste is to compost it and reuse it on your own garden once its matured. The process is slow but it means you can give back to the earth Lion King style as the circle of life. Here is a little guard to how and what to compost.

I was wrongly informed once that a compost bin needs lots of air and holes in the side, this does not work in my opinion. You need a bin of some kind which is well insulated especially in the winter and has a lid on the top. You can buy one, make your own or sometimes you can get one free from your local council. I like the standard black ones with a lid on the top and a small door at the bottom to get the finished compost out. As they are black they absorb the suns rays and keep it warm which is key to producing compost quickly.  The compost bin should be in a sunny or partial shaded spot so it gets the most sun and kept warm. It should be placed on open soil or turf and away from water courses or standing water

whats in my bin, with an added dose of beer dregsNow for the fun part, what to put in. There are a two basic rules to follow if you want to create the best compost and get rid of your organic waste in a sensible way without adding to the landfills.

1. Add anything that was once living- but avoid cooked foods, meat and dairy as they can attract vermin

2. Make your pile a mix-  you should use roughly equal parts brown and green mix

Green mix are used as activators to give life to the compost and break the mix down quickly, these include: grass clippings, leaves, young weeds, vegetable peelings, tea bags, coffee grounds, animal manure

Brown mix creates the bulk of the compost but breaks down slower then green, its best shredded and broken into smaller pieces before being added, it includes: untreated woods, hardy weeds,  newspaper, brown paper and cardboard

A few added tips I found is to keep the compost moist but not sopping. My favourite way to add moisture is with the dregs of a beer barrels which I have lots of access to :) The nutrients in beer add to the compost and get it going again, it definitely improves the quality of your heap. Crushed egg shells are another good additive, rich in nutrients and hair & nail clippings are gross but great for it. No point in adding anything to your bin if you could add it to your compost instead. one last hint is that once your bin gets noticeable full (our compost bin was there when we moved in and was already pretty full of garden waste) don’t worry that you won’t be able to fit any more in. Our compost bin is full every time we put a bag of waste in (about once a week) but there is always room the next time we put it in so you can see that the waste is slowly degrading into the heap so keep topping it up.  Compost takes a long time to make but if your in it for the long haul it will result in a wonderful mulch for your garden and the perfect way to get rid of your organic waste.

Lorna

x xxx

p.s. One last tip, stir the mixture up with a stick every once in a while it aerates it which gets it going again

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