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You’re heard the word composting been thrown around and heard it’s a good thing but what exactly is composting? Well, you’re in luck, here we’ll be talking about and sharing some hot tips on composting, along with the different types of composting to help you get started at home.
What is Composting?
Composting is the process of recycling green waste and organic matter and turning it into compost. Once green waste has decomposed, it becomes compost and can then be added to other soil types as a fertilizer. Compost, through the process becomes a nutrient rich soil which is an excellent growing medium for plants. By managing this natural process in your own garden, you can help do you bit for the environment and also save money on natural fertilizer. Regardless of the size of your outdoor area, there will be a composting solution that’s right for you.
There are however, a lot of different of ways to composting but we will try to keep it simple with this article to help you get started.
How does composting work?
The process of composting takes between two and nine months, depending on the conditions. The way it works is by layering different types of waste material which decomposes and turns into nutrient rich soil ready to be used as a natural fertiliser.
You will need to be able to access the base of the heap so you can use it as fertilizer, while the compost heap continues to do it’s magic.
How to start composting at home
First of all, let’s have a look at the space available for your compost area or bin.
Depending on your aesthetic preferences or composting needs, traditional wood or wire compost bins are relatively simple to build. If you’re more comfortable with simply assembling a bin rather than constructing from plans, there are many compost bin kits available to buy from garden centers, plant nurseries, box stores and online. Some online retailers will even mail a completely assembled compost bin.
Types of compost bins
When it comes to compost bins, there are many different types and a few different ways but they pretty much work the same.
Purpose-built plastic bins
These bins can be picked up from your local hardware store, nursery or purchased online. They come as either stationary or tumblers. They are fitted with a hatch at the bottom for easy access to composted material. Best for gardeners with limited space or those who like to keep things neat and tidy.
Garden Compost Bins
If room permits, you can easily just setup a compost pile or compost pen. The compost pile, as the name suggest, is just an area designated to your compost pile. A compost pen can be purchased or built yourself as a little diy project. If you up for a diy compost bin, check out better homes and garden blog, The Easiest DIY Compost Bin Ever.
Kitchen Compost Bins
Kitchen composting is basically using a smaller bin that can be keep in the kitchen for easy disposal of your green waste. Kitchen compost bins can be made from re purposed air tight containers, ceramic jars or glass containers.
Using worms farms or wormeries to help with composting is a convenient way to dispose of kitchen scraps and turn green waste into fertiliser. Worm farms don’t take up much room and they’re not too hard to start.
What can be Composted
Once your have decided on a composting bin that suits your needs, you can start making compost. Here is a list of the waste that is considered good compost,
Waste For Composting
- Fresh grass clippings
- Flowers – stems should be chopped up; don’t use diseased plants.
- Nettles act as good natural activators.
- Vegetable and fruit peelings
- Vegetable crop residue, such as potato and tomato plants.
- Young weeds, but avoid perennials.
- Herbivore manure, such as from horses, cows and rabbits.
- Tea leaves, but tea bags will take longer to break down.
- Dead or fallen leaves – use only small amounts
- Shredded paper
- Coffee grounds and filter – use only paper filters
- Cardboard torn into small pieces
- Woody hedge clippings and twigs ideally put through a shredder
- Sawdust mixed well with more aerated material
- Herbivore bedding, such as hay and straw
- Egg shells washed and crushed up
- Hair – either human or animal hair since both are high in nitrogen
- 100 percent wool or cotton cut into small pieces or tumble-dryer lint
- Vacuum-bag contents, but use common sense as to what has been picked up
- Wood ash in small quantities
Waste to avoid with Composting
Although these items can break down into compost, it’s best to avoid them as they can attract a lot of vermin and potential pathogens,
- Meat and fish (cooked and raw) can harbor disease and attract vermin.
- Dog and cat feces can harbor disease.
- Cat litter will normally contain feces.
- Glossy magazines contain too many inorganic chemicals.
- Barbecue coals and coal ash contain harmful sulphur oxides.
So there you have it, I hope that’s provided you a way to start composting at home so you can do your bit for the environment. It doesn’t take much time and effort and is fairly easy to setup. If nothing else, it will save you money on soil and fertiliser.
If you looking to setting up your own organic garden at home, check out our article on How to Set up an Organic Garden at Home
Best of luck and until next time, eat well, do good and live better.