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composting at home

How to Make Compost at Home

How to Make Compost at Home –  EasilyA compost bin in the garden

As the autumn leaves fall, this is the perfect time of year to start a compost heap. This article is to show you how to make compost at home and the reason it is important is because the best gift you can give your garden is to improve the soil.  If you get the soil right your reward will be healthy  plants and produce. Happily, the best way to improve garden soil is absolutely free if you turn your food scraps and garden waste into ‘black gold,’ otherwise known as compost.How to make compost at home


What to put in your home made compost

Composting at home is an incredibly easy and environmentally friendly thing to do. It is as simple as collecting and combining green waste, such as grass clippings or fruit and vegetable peelings with brown waste such as straw, dried plant stems or cardboard. Pure green waste, which is high in nitrogen, will decompose very quickly, however, if it is not mixed with brown waste, which is high in carbon, it can become sludgy. So it is important to get the balance right. As a rough rule of thumb aim for about twice as much brown material to softer green nitrogen rich material.grass clippings


Two Ways to Make Compost at Home

There are two ways of getting compost to break down into a crumbly brown compost ready to use in your garden. The first and easiest method known as ‘cold composting’ is as simple as making a pile of the waste material into a corner of the garden or a bin. Over the course of a year or so, the material will gradually decompose down. Composting at homeThe second method, ‘hot composting’ requires a more active role, but the advantage is that it’s a faster process and you should get compost in as little as three months during warmer weather. Four ingredients are required for  hot composting: nitrogen, carbon, air, and water. Together, these feed microorganisms, which speed up the process of decay. To provide the oxygen, turn the pile every two-three weeks with a garden fork when the centre of the pile feels warm, helping it to ‘cook’ faster. How to make compost at homeMake sure it stays moist by watering, if necessary. Chopping and shredding raw ingredients into smaller sizes will also speed up the composting process. In spring or autumn when garden waste is plentiful, you can mix one big batch of compost and then start a second one while the first one is ‘cooking.’

Other ingredients for a successful compost heap include coffee grounds, tea leaves, dust from the vacuum, shredded newspaper, receipts, hair and even wine corks!  The only things to avoid are meat, dairy and bread which can attract pests, as well as any high processed foods as they take longer to break down.

How to know when your compost is ready

squeezing compost

You will know that your compost is ready to use in the garden when it is full of worms, all or most of the material is broken down and it no longer smells. It should feel crumbly and smell earthy. Use it every year in winter months by scattering it all round your garden borders and watch the plants re-pay you back for the effort! Making compost is a great way for environmentally conscious garden owners to cut down on waste and is the key to creating a gorgeous garden.

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