Creating Compost – Read More

Creating Compost

Making your own compost is really satisfying. Turning a waste product into something useful is almost magical! But then our world is full of incredible microorganisms and invertebrates that do this amazing transformation for us. And the product is worth waiting for.

There are plenty of different approaches to making compost and there is quite a bit of advice online, especially from the horticultural experts. Here I will share one approach that works for me – my recipe, so to speak.

First we need a large container for making compost and a place to put it – a corner of the garden or behind the shed, shielded by a bush, preferably with minimal direct sunlight. Four years ago I bought a wooden flat-packed composter – slatted wood that fits together to make a large box, large enough to hold a tonne of earth. I find it is useful for it to have a good sturdy lid and a lower panel that can open to take the finished compost out. I was never really convinced by the idea of using plastic, especially plastic originally derived from petroleum. And unless you intend to make a special compost without air (anaerobically), I somehow feel that the microorganisms and invertebrates shouldn’t be locked away from the garden.

I am also strict about what I put in this composter. Pretty much all uncooked vegetable and fruit waste with the exception of citrus fruit (because long ago I was informed that the treatments and waxes on standard oranges, lemons and other citrus are not good for compost), avocado (because I understand from my greengrocer that avocados are the only thing in a greengrocer’s shop that attract rats) and coconut and other nuts (partly because the outer shells take super long to compost and partly because the flesh is so high in fat that I wonder whether it would attract rats too). I do not compost plate scrapings (anything cooked, dressed with oil, bread, dairy, fish or meat). I have found this vegetable and fruit compost to be of little interest to most pests. Prior to buying my wooden composter I used to dig the peelings into the soil and every so often my local fox would try to unearth it. So since getting the above-ground wooden composter I have relied on the heavy lid to stop the fox from having a nose around – and it has worked for me.

In terms of garden waste, I regularly put grass cuttings into the composter. I seem to absolutely fill it to the brim every so often with grass cuttings then a few days later I find it has settled right down with more space for yet another load of peelings and grass. I tend to avoid putting sticks and twigs in because they take long to break down, but happily put in smaller cuttings and leaves. So by the end of the year I have layered the compost without really trying – layers of raw fruit and vegetable waste interspersed with layers of mainly grass.

Initially I thought I’d fill the composter within the year, but after four years it seems only three-quarters full and unusually I’ve taken very little compost out during this time. The wooden structure is still in great shape for another four and likely very more years.

Happy Composting!

Do you have a compost recipe to share?

Creating Compost
Creating compost is as easy as collecting our fruit and vegetable kitchen waste

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