How to Make Compost
Compost is a vital part of maintaining a garden and keeping your plants healthy. Making it is a straight forward process, and with a little work and patience you can develop a nutrient packed material which acts as a fertiliser, mulch and a base for plant growing.
Locate your compost bin in an area of your garden which catches the sun and place directly on the soil to allow worms and other organisms to enter and assist with the process.
Successful compost relies on an equal mix and balance of nitrogen and carbon materials.
Turn your compost regularly and mix the ingredients to aerate the process. Although be careful during the winter months as hedgehogs may decide to use your compost bin as a nice warm place to hibernate. Cover to stop the contents becoming too wet from rainfall.
The speed at which materials break down is influenced by the seasonal temperature, so expect a quicker decomposition in summer and a slower rate in the winter. You can use cardboard and old carpet to cover and insulate your compost heap and help it to retain heat during the colder months.
It can take at least six months for the compost to become brown in colour, fresh and slightly sweet in scent, and a crumbly delicate texture. Then it is ready for use.
What Materials to Use for Compost
An equal mix of green and brown materials will get the nitrogen and carbon balance just right. Suitable green waste (nitrogen) includes grass clippings, tea bags, nettles, annual leaves and vegetable peelings. Brown materials include shredded paper, newspaper and cardboard, prunings, bark, straw, and hedge trimmings. Don’t add animal faeces, cooked food, meat or dairy products.
The Benefits of Compost
A good quality homemade compost is a huge value to your garden. You will also get the satisfaction of knowing that you are recycling garden and household waste to benefit the environment. It is a step towards reducing landfill waste and making the management of your garden space more efficient. Adding compost to soil acts as a conditioner and rejuvenates the nutrients and microscopic organisms within it. It is also a good way to reduce the reliance upon chemical fertilisers, making your gardening more eco friendly.
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