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What is organic compost? It is decomposed organic matter made from garden and kitchen waste, it is rich in nutrients, dark, crumbly, smells good, feeds and condition the soil, saving money by reducing the need for fertilisers. Adding compost to the soil each season promotes soil microbes that help plant growth.
It is so natural and simple that if a pile of leaves or any green-stuff that was once living was left without any human involvement at all, it would decompose and be taken down into the soil by worms. Making compost really is that simple. Putting the material in a pile generates natural heat speeding up the process.
What equipment do I need? None, you can simply pile green and brown waste from the list below forming a compost heap directly on to soil in an accessible and sunny part of your garden and cover the heap with cardboard, sacking or bin bags. But If you are a neat tidy gardener or have a small garden, ask your council for a composting bin or make your own compost bin.
What stuff can I compost?
Almost anything that ever lived can be used to make compost, but not meat, fish, cat or dog muck.The important thing is to get the balance right with a mix of green and brown waste from the lists below, this becomes easy with practice.
How to start composting. Simply pile a mix of kitchen, household and garden waste in a heap, and if you are not using a composter with a lid, cover with sacking or old matting to warm it up and then keep the heat in.Try to form a fair size heap, the bigger the pile the more heat it will generate and it's the heat that starts the composting process.
Check your heap or compost bin now and then, if the mix of waste looks slimy add more from the dry (brown list), if the heap is hard and lumpy add more from the wet (green) list.
The composting process
The compost will start to heat up in a few days, this means your home made compost factory is working and you can start adding BROWN and GREEN stuff.
After a couple of weeks turn the pile inside out, this allows oxygen in and speeds up the composting process or if you aren't feeling that energetic and can wait longer for the crumbly stuff, leave nature to get on with it.
When is the compost ready.
If you turn the compost heap now and then and keep it covered, or the lid on if you are using a composting bin to keep it warm, it could be ready in about 12 weeks but can take up to 10 months.
Processing time depends on various factors,
But however long it takes, its well worth waiting for, but if you can't wait and its turned a dark brown earth colour, even if it is still a bit lumpy, its safe to use, just put the really lumpy twiggy stuff back on the heap.
Composting Do's and Don'ts,
Diseased plants with club root and white rot etc. should not be composted, if you are not sure don't compost them.
Most weeds will be killed in a good hot compost heap, but best not to add ,celandine, docks, buttercup, ground elder and bindweed, etc.to your compost heap until they have been rotted down in a tied up bin bag.
Worms and insects are essential in a compost heap, so welcome and expect them.
Will a compost heap attract rats? Rats will not be attracted by your heap but will almost certainly be already present in the area and will visit the compost heap now and then.
Home made compost is safe to handle, probably safer than the stuff sold in garden centers no added chemical fertiliser just take the usual precautions you would take when gardening
No bottom to the bin, keep the mixture in contact with the soil, make it big and strong enough to easily allow you to get to the compost with a fork and easily accessible to shovel out the compost from the bottom of the heap.
How to make a Wormery