From five-star meals to five-star mulch… in this post, we show you how to cook up your own compost.
At Uitisg, we’re committed to being as gentle on the environment as we possibly can. We take this philosophy into everything we do – from the best way to dispose of harmful old building materials (like asbestos), to the most natural ways to look after our vines and gardens. Here are our top tips to creating the best compost for your own garden. Best of all, it’s much easier than you probably think (or fear). Unlike other aspects of gardening (like weeding or pruning) a compost pile pretty much takes care of itself. Build it right, and it will transform your growing expectations.
- Start with a container. We’re dealing with decomposing organic material, folks, so the structure doesn’t need to be fancy. You just need some sort of way to hold all of the ingredients together so the beneficial bacteria that break down the plant matter can heat up and work effectively. A well-designed bin will retain heat and moisture, allowing for quicker results. Try to locate it in a sunny location so that it gets as much heat as possible. If it’s in the shade all day, decomposition will still happen, but it will be much slower, especially during winter.
- Get the mix right. A low-maintenance pile has a combination of brown and green plant matter, plus some moisture to keep the good bacteria humming. Shredded newspaper, wood chips and dry leaves are ideal for the brown elements; kitchen waste (like tea bags, used ground coffee and vegetable peels) plus grass clippings are perfect for the green add-ins. Avoid adding meat, fish and dairy products.
- Layer well. It’s best to start heaping the ingredients right on the ground, starting with chunky material like small branches or woody stems on the bottom for good airflow. Every time you add green material, add some brown as well to keep a good moisture balance and create air pockets.
- Put a fork in it. Turn the pile with a pitchfork every week or two to make sure that all of the materials are blended in and working together. After you’ve mixed things up, grab a handful to see if it’s slightly damp. Too little moisture will slow the decomposition process and too much will leave you with a slimy mess.
In a few months, your finished product should be a dark, crumbly soil that smells like fresh earth – setting you well on your way to a healthy, green (in more ways than one) garden.