A supply of good quality compost is key to having a successful vegetable garden, and its even better when you make your own. Not only do you reduce you kitchen waste, but you save money by replenishing your soil’s nutrients for free.
Making good compost is a bit like baking a cake. You need the right ingredients in the right proportions, otherwise it can turn into a slimy mess.
How to Make Good Compost
The ingredients you need to make compost are:
- grass clippings
- green leaves
- shrub prunings
- kitchen scraps
- tea leaves
- stems and twigs
- shredded paper
- wood chippings
- dried leaves
- evergreen clippings
Do not compost:
- pet faeces – potential health hazard
- perennial weeds – can regrow when compost is added to garden
- meat or fish scraps – will attract vermin
- glossy paper – likely to contain plastic material
- synthetic fibres –will not decompose in compost heap
Now for the cooking…
To get good quality compost, aim for alternate layers of green and brown material. Begin with a layer of brown material at the bottom of your compost heap. This allows the air to circulate. Then add a layer of green material. Continue this layering, adding more material when you have it.
For a good consistency and optimal breakdown of matter, there should roughly be twice the amount of brown to green.
Mix up your compost by occasionally turning with a garden fork it to allow air to circulate, and cover it with an old piece of carpet or ply wood to keep the heat in. This will help your compost to mature more quickly.
Good compost can take anything from six months to two years to fully mature, but you’ll know when your compost is ready – it will be dark brown, smell sweet and have a fibrous, crumbly texture, just like delicious chocolate cake for your garden!