The Complete Guide to Composting

Are you looking to get rid of some of your waste… get your head out of the gutter… actually, maybe don’t! Get ready to get your hands right amongst the waste in your gutter. It’s time to talk about composting. By starting a compost system in your house, you can help contribute to a more sustainable future right in your own backyard.

If you’ve never heard of composting, it’s a natural process in which microorganisms help break down food scraps and other natural materials into a re-usable form for growth; it’s the circle of liiiiife (imagine Simba on the rock here). By composting, you can turn your trash into treasure and save money on chemical-filled fertilisers and pesticides. It’s also really fun and is way easier and less-hippie than you may think!

The first step is to find a good location for your bin – be sure to make it somewhere that’s easily accessible for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the shade or the sun, just as long as it’s convenient for you.

Then, it’s time to treat yourself to a bin. This can be a standard compost bin or a homemade one. It’s up to you. When you’ve got your bin sorted, it’s time for the fun part – filling it up. Be sure to throw all your fruit and veggie scraps, teabags and flowers into the big. You can also include leaves, twigs, soil and shredded newspaper in the mix too; I’ll explain how now.

Fill the first layer with dried leaves and twigs and be sure to wash it properly as water helps encourage the growth of bacteria which helps compost breakdown. Now fill the second part with all of your food scraps and plant scraps, just as thick as you made the second layer. Then, layer on the dried leaves and twigs again, including some shredded newspaper or veggie scraps too – make sure to add more water and water it down at this stage too. You can then finish it off with a thin layer of soil from your garden to help kickstart the compost growth. Now it’s time to add everything else including other food scraps.

Every time you empty the bin, cover it with some of the twigs and garden disposables to continue building a balanced compost. You’ll know when it’s ready to use when it’s reached a rich and dark soil. When you’re ready to empty it, simply tilt the bin, scrape away the finished compost and start again.

The following can’t be including in your compost bin: onions, lemons, dairy, meat and acidic ingredients as these can impact the pH of the compost.

Oh, and just by the way, just like your digestive system finds it easier when you first chew your food into smaller chunks, your compost bin appreciates the same. By breaking your layers up into smaller pieces, you’ll allow the compost to break down more efficiently.

To keep your compost breathing (yes, I know I said breathing… turns out plants have feelings too. Vegans, I’m looking at you), you need to give it some room to breathe. Be sure to turn it over and fluff it up at least monthly with some kind of garden fork or compost turner tool which you can get from a gardening store.

There you go – your compost bin is ripe and ready to use!

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