Gardening fanatics like us are no strangers to composting. Good for your garden and good for the environment – what’s not to love about a healthy compost heap?
While home composting is becoming increasingly popular, there are still many grey areas around what we should and should not throw in the heap. Being aware of what makes a great compost ensures your garden gets all the proper nutrients to thrive.
When done right, composting is a rewarding exercise. We’ll break down the do’s and don’ts of a home compost, so yours is as healthy, organic and sustainable as possible. Some of our tips are sure to surprise you!
The Do’s Of Home Composting
Although it’s a great way to deal with waste, there’s a little more to composting than throwing anything in and hoping for the best. Get the right balance of nutrients with these home composting do’s.
Do add green and brown plant material
Garden waste is an excellent addition to home compost. Green and brown waste adds essential nitrogen and carbon that helps to break down organic material.
Do shred or cut large waste
To speed up the composting process, ensure waste is small in size. Smaller items break down faster and help to spread nutrients more evenly throughout the compost.
Do add fruit and vegetable scraps
Most fruit and vegetable scraps are ideal for the home compost. Packed with nutrients, fruit and vegetable scraps such as banana peels, apple and pear cores, eggshells, and coffee grinds can be thrown in with no effort. Citrus takes longer to break down, so cut citrus scraps into very small pieces before placing them in the home compost.
Do dampen with water
Water helps to pack the organic material together. Dampen your compost occasionally to keep it moist, but don’t soak it.
Do add compostable packaging
Compostable packing is just that: compostable. Made from organic waste, compostable packaging is designed to break down in your home compost. Like other larger items, you may need to cut compostable packaging into smaller pieces for more rapid decomposition. And if you’re not sure it’s compostable? Take your advice from the experts like JenkinsFPS.
Do aerate your compost
Aeration is an essential part of the composting process. As oxygen assists in promoting healthy bacteria, turning your compost every two weeks will break down organic matter faster.
Do be patient
With plenty of aeration and the right organic waste, a home compost will take three weeks to three months to break down. If you have large items and dense waste, you can expect your compost to take between four weeks and 12 months to break down. Sour odours indicate that your compost needs more time to decompose. Your compost should smell similar to soil when it comes time to add it to your garden.
The Don’ts Of Home Composting
There are many things that your home compost loves, but there are also many things it can do without. Problem waste can disrupt the balance of your compost, hindering rather than helping your garden.
Don’t make your compost too small
Larger compost heaps have faster decomposition potential. However, the larger your heap, the more difficult it will be to aerate. To combat this problem, use a composting tumbler. These are the perfect size for compost and make regular aeration easy.
Don’t place your compost in a shaded area
Decomposition bacteria love warmth. The more you give them what they love, the harder they’ll work to break down your compost. Place your compost somewhere sunny to activate bacteria growth and speed things up. Remember to keep your compost damp to prevent drying out in the sun.
Don’t add plant waste that’s diseased or gone to seed
Organisms from diseased garden waste introduce harmful bacteria to your home compost that will infect other plants in your garden. Weeds and plants that have gone to seed will spread throughout your garden when you use the compost as a soil enhancer.
Don’t add plants treated with pesticide
Green and brown garden waste is perfect in your home compost as long as it hasn’t been treated with pesticides. Pesticides are toxic to compost, killing healthy bacteria and shutting the decomposition process down altogether.
Don’t add meat, bones, fish, or poultry
Unless you want to attract rodents, don’t put any animal products into your home compost. Animal products also take a long time to decompose and produce unpleasant odours that you won’t want scattered throughout your garden.
Don’t add dairy, fats and oils
For the same reason as mentioned above, dairy, fats and oils will attract unwanted visitors to your compost heap.
Don’t add animal waste
Animal faeces are definitely not meant for the home compost heap. Aside from introducing odours to your compost, animal waste is full of harmful bacteria that will throw your compost’s nutrient profile off balance.
Don’t forget to fertilize
While compost is an excellent soil enhancer, your garden may still need a dose of fertilizer from time to time. To ensure your garden meets your sustainable values, choose an organic fertilizer that can work with your natural compost to optimize soil health.
Compost is a great way to pack your garden soil with dense nutrients. However, to promote healthy plant growth, your compost needs to be carefully balanced and fully decomposed before it’s used in your garden.
When you get the hang of it, composting is easy. These quick tips will ensure your compost is balanced, environmentally friendly, and perfect for healthy, sustainable plant growth.