How to compost at home

Composting is the process of combining and managing specific waste materials to cause them to decompose. This process recycles various organic materials otherwise regarded as waste products. Good compost is rich in plant nutrients and beneficial organisms.

Home composting is an inexpensive way to transform your kitchen and garden waste into beneficial nutritious food for your garden. It is also very easy to make and use!

Studies show that almost half of the food found in an average bin could have been composted. By engaging in home composting, you are reducing the amount of food waste sent to landfill or by diverting it from your green bin, which can be an expensive process for councils because of the heavy transportation costs.

Home composting is a useful tool for any size gardens and can be started and maintained at any time of the year. It is hugely beneficial to your garden, helping improve soil structure, maintaining moisture levels and keeping your soil's PH levels in check. It is an extremely easy and fun process.

There are three components that you will need to create your compost, brown materials, green materials and water. It is best to aim for 25 to 50 percent green materials with the remainder brown materials. Listed below are examples of what falls under the brown and green material categories.

There are two types of compost bins to choose from, holding bin units or turning units. The holding bins are the most common and can be bought in plastic with a hatch so you can access the compost at the bottom. You can also build your own holding bin from wooden pallets or corrugated metal, it is best to cover these with tarpaulin.

The turning units are readily available cylindrical bins and rotate to speed up the composting process. The process of turning the unit means the organic materials are mixed and infused with fresh oxygen.

If you choose to use a holding bin or turning unit, the best way to go about creating a compost pile is the sandwich method. This is outlined below in the infographic:

Now that you have your bin set up, you have to make sure the compost is regularly maintained to achieve the desired results. The most important routine to carry out is to habitually (about once a month) turn the compost with a shovel, pitchfork or other garden tool. Turning the heap adds air which is essential for composting.

The compost pile also needs to be checked for moisture levels. This is easier to check when turning the pile, if it is too dry make sure to add water. If the compost feels too wet, add more dry brown materials to the pile.

The compost can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to reach maturity. The compost is ready when it is dark brown and smells earthy, slightly moist with a crumbly texture.

The compost is now ready to use, so what can you do with it?

Compost can be used in many ways in your garden once ready. Listed below are the many uses of your new home compost:

Enjoy your new home compost! It is very easy to achieve and gives a great sense of accomplishment. The process benefits your garden whilst also benefitting the planet. Happy composting!

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