Compost is a rich, nutrient-filled, organic matter, and one of only a few things that get better when left to rot. Today is national ‘Learn About Composting Day’ in the good, ole U.S. of A, and it’s a day that we think has major merit. So much so, we have hijacked it for a piece on our blog, as we feel it’s something worth writing home about.
What is compost?
Compost, as we said above, is organic matter, left to decay naturally over time, and with the help of some fantastic little bugs and worms, this decomposition creates nutrient-rich soil that acts as a natural fertiliser for your garden, plants and home-grown vegetables. It’s an exercise in recycling natural food and garden waste, and most importantly, it’s a ‘green waste’.
Making a Go of It
Composting has many, many benefits, and is a wonderful way to reduce your food waste as well as help you to grow a thriving garden. Ultimately, using this nutrient-rich soil will also help to contribute to a healthier planet as less and less waste makes its way to landfill. You may think it’s a particularly dirty job to create, but the practice of composting is actually very easy and very rewarding.
Here is a video from the Eden Project, which tells you how to make a thriving compost heap:
We briefly covered composting in our ‘Guide to Zero Waste‘ blog, which highlights the impact that starting to compost can have. The beauty lies also in the fact that to make a successful go at creating this rich-soil, you don’t even have to do the hard work. But you do have to play your part.
The worms are the real star of the show. to compost, you need to create a heap. The bigger, the better… or more, in this case. Worms love the environment that is the humble compost heap; it’s their natural environment and they not only thrive, but they also create.
The dark and moist atmosphere of the compost heap is the perfect place for the worms to thrive, as they eat their way through the organic waste, they convert it into liquid feed, helping to breakdown the organic matter and turn it into compost.
So, where do I come in?
There are a few things that you need to do. We have highlighted below the 4 key elements to successful composting:
- Make sure the right waste goes in – Composting creates green waste, so think organic. Veg peelings, fruit waste, dead plants, and grass trimmings are great. Shredded paper, egg boxes, and even old tea bags are also great things to put in. It will give a balanced, diverse, mini-ecosystem. Finally, put in fallen leaves for moisture.
- Not all things that decompose are good for composting – Dairy and meat products do not work. Neither are things like animal waste or cat litter. These will attract pests and will not break down in the compost itself. It will be ignored by the worms so it won’t become part of the compost mix. Other things to avoid are non-organic items such as glass or plastics. It’s also not a good idea to put too many weeds into the mixture; things like dandelions are not going to break down in the same way.
- With points 1 & 2 in mind, once you have your blend of organic matter, make sure it is balanced and allowed to breathe regularly. Make sure you keep an eye on your colours; keep a balance between ‘greens’ and ‘browns’. Too much ‘green’ and your compost will become dry and withered. The more ‘brown’ and the mixture will be too wet, so use the two colours to balance each other out. Also, when you can, now and again, mix and aerate the compost heap by turning it over. This will lead to a faster-composting process.
- Make sure your compost has the best environment – for environment, read bin – to thrive. Compost bins are the silo for your dirt to begin its recycling process, so vitally important. Put it in the right spot; where water can escape, and not gather but on the ground is level, on soil so the worms can get in. The best compost bins don’t have to be expensive or difficult to build.
Where can I go to find out more about building a compost bin?
There are many different ways and items you can use to build a compost heap. We find that there are so many good examples at instructables.com, and so we suggest you take a look here:
Here you will find some amazing tips, walk-throughs, and ideas to make your very own compost bin. Get going, and start to make your own compost at home, with the help of your family, and a few amazing little worms.