If you want to farm your garden, making compost at home will enable you to produce larger and higher quality crops for free.
Home composting isn’t difficult.
You can do it using a compost heap or, if you want to keep things a bit tidier, with a compost bin.
You can buy a plastic compost bin from a garden centre but there are also several things you can use as a compost bin.
We have used the barrel from a broken tumble drier.
It has been buried so as to be level with the surrounding ground.
It has holes so water will pass through it and it is also very robust so it won’t collapse or break easily.
This image shows our compost bin which is already being used:
It is much more environmentally friendly to use food waste such as fruit and vegetable rinds and egg shells to produce compost rather than just throwing it in the bin to be landfilled.
If you’re not sure about which types of waste you can compost, you can include any of the following materials:
- vegetable peelings
- fruit rinds
- prunings from garden plants
- grass cuttings
- cardboard egg boxes (we take off the labels)
- cardboard and paper (as long as it’s not waxed and plastic containing covers and labels have been removed)
- fallen leaves
- crushed up egg shells
When composting you want to balance “green” materials such as fruit and vegetable waste with “brown” materials like cardboard.
Green materials compost more quickly than brown materials so it’s important to have both and mix it up regularly.
Brown materials have a drying effect on the composting mixture and green materials make it wetter, so if it’s too dry you add green stuff like grass clippings and vegetable peelings. If it’s too wet, adding cardboard and scrunched up paper will dry it out.
It might also be worth mentioning some of the substances it isn’t a good idea to add to compost.
Adding carnivorous or omnivorous animal waste such as dog and cat poo is NOT a good idea as it can contain parasites which you don’t want in your compost.
It’s also not wise to add cooked vegetables, dairy products and meat waste as, in addition to smelling bad, these materials will attract rodents.
Obviously, adding persistant weeds or stuff with seeds isn’t a good idea as these will grow from your compost. We have a lot of ivy growing at our place and this is no use for compost as it will just grow again from your compost or even start growing while the rest of the stuff is composting.
Regularly turning your compost over keeps it well aired and assists the composting process.
Much of the “work” is done by worms who help to break down the raw materials, eventually producing a dark brown or black soil textured compost which can be added to your soil beds to enrich them with important minerals and accessible nitrogen for your crops.