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Composting Do’s & Dont's

Composting Do’s & Don’t

When compostable waste is sent to landfill it does not break down as it would on the compost heap as they do not get the air they need to decompose.  Instead they release methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas that leads to global warming.  So there’s the main reason you should start a garden compost heap (a second one being free compost for your plants!) and now here is how you compost in a easy Do’s & Don’ts list.

 

DO

Do buy a bin made from recycled materials.

Do put it straight on to soil if you can as that allows for easy drainage.  It can also be done on a hard surface, just put some compost in the bin first. 

Do put in twigs before the waste is put in for composting as they will trap air in there that will help in the composting process.

Do place as much waste on the heap at the same time- if you can.  We keep a small bin on the sideboard just to whizz in vegetable waste as we’re cooking and then take it out once its full (you will be surprised at how quickly it fills once you get into the habit).

Do put in garden waste as long as it is not diseased.

Do compost coffee grounds and well crushed eggshells.

Do put in fabric that is 100% cotton can be composted and takes approximately 6 months to decompose. Just cut it into very small pieces first.

Do turn over the contents of your compost on a weekly basis with a garden fork or aeration tool this will keep the soil well aerated.

Do keep the heap moist in dry weather, turning the heap will help move moisture around.

Do speed up the compost process up by introducing worms or by using an activator.

Do wait till the compost is a dark brown before using it, this can take between 6 months and 2 years.  When it’s ready. compost is described as being loamy, it has no aroma unlike the smell of rotting down food and you can ball it up in your hands, but it will crumble when you rub your hands together.

Do put your compost through a sieve when you think it’s ready.  This will catch any bits that haven’t quite composted down and you can put them back in.

 

DON’T

Don’t put your bin in direct sunlight.  Contrary to popular belief a compost heap works best in constant conditions so don’t subject it to lots of heat, cold or moisture.

Don’t put in meat, cooked food, dairy or excrement as you will attract pests and create fowl smells.

Don't put it tea bags that contain plastic.  Check the label first.

Don’t put in weeds.

Don’t let one material fill up the heap, aim for a balance in materials.  i.e. 50% soft green clippings, such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, and 50% woody brown materal such as paper, wood chippings, prunings, cardboard.

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