There are almost always multiple ways of doing the same thing – and the proponents of each will tell you it’s the ONLY way to go. That’s what’s made the simple art of making compost into a minefield of conflicting information – but you can still do it the easy way! Baxton brings you the simplest compost recipe ever. But first, a bit of background info.
Adding organic matter to soil brings it to life – no matter what kind of soil you have. When well-composted, sandy soils will retain moisture better – and clay soils will be lighter and better drained. Plus, it makes for a hospitable environment for garden friends like earthworms.
To a certain extent, compost provides nutrition for your plants, but don’t count on it too heavily for that. The release of nutrients is slow, and fast-growing plants may need a little extra. Ultimately, composting is about improving soil texture and encouraging beneficial organisms that help your plants.
Why Make Your Own Compost?
First up, it’s free! Why spend money on compost when making it yourself doesn’t cost a cent?
Secondly, it’s a great, eco-friendly way to get rid of garden and kitchen waste – but go easy on the kitchen stuff – you don’t want to attract flies, and some organic material, like meat and potatoes, can introduce harmful elements into your compost heap
Lastly, it’s rewarding. There’s just something about seeing a heap of assorted vegetable matter turning into lovely, rich compost that gives gardeners a thrill.
Where to Compost
Most old-fashioned gardens will have no shortage of spots where an enterprising gardener can start a compost heap. But smaller gardens may present a problem. After all, you don’t want a compost heap staring you in the face every time you step into the garden – plus, property owners may not be any too happy if their tenants start a compost heap on carefully manicured lawn, landscaped beds or against fences where the compost could cause marks and stains or even promote rot.
In this instance, it’s best to pop on over to a local Hobart garden entre and enquire about compost bins. They usually come with their own instructions for use, and they’re pretty efficient at turning garden waste into “black gold.”
How to Make a Compost Heap
Provided you have a good spot to do it, building up the old-fashioned compost heap is a simple solution. You will need:
- Green matter such as lawn clippings, leaves, or vegetable peelings
- Brown material such as fine, dried twigs, dried leaves, or even newspaper.
- Ordinary garden soil
The classic way to make compost is to layer a couple of inches of brown stuff, green stuff, and a sprinkling of soil. You won’t have enough material to begin with, but you can just keep adding to your heap until you have enough. You’re aiming for a heap about one meter high, so don’t spread your material over too wide an area when you begin a space of 1m x 1m is big enough for the average garden compost heap – and if you have a big garden that produces a lot of waste, you can always have more than one heap.
How to Care for a Compost Heap
The microbes that help you to make compost need some moisture and air to keep growing. Don’t make your compost heap soggy, but keep it moist. To aerate your compost, turn the heap every few weeks. Some people advocate turning every few days for faster composting – it’s up to you!
That’s it! When your compost has gone deep brown to black and crumbly, it’s ready to use! There’ll be a bit of semi-composted matter, but you can use it to activate your next heap. Happy composting!
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