Drink Magazine

Composting

By Alip @alisonpikeGD

Compost Heap

As soon as you get into the realms of garden compost a great number of views and opinions seem to appear from every gardener out there.  It has never really seemed that complicated, difficult or opinion inducing to me.  Compost is much like eating sensibly …..everything in moderation and keep it varied.  It is all about the mix which is divided up it to two main groups:

Green (makes up 25-50% of compost material)
As the name would suggest this is fresh soft plant material such as grass clippings, annual weeds, leafy clippings, uncooked kitchen waste – peelings, fruit, vegetables, tea bags, animal manure.  All these materials have high water content and therefore if too much goes on your compost heap you can end up with a slimy, smelly mess.

Brown (makes up 75-50% of compost material)
This is the drier material – pruning’s and hedge trimmings (ideally shredded), woodchip, leaves, paper and card (torn up or shredded), straw, plant stems.  These materials are drier and help to allow air into the mix so that the bacteria and micro-organisms have the best possible environment to breakdown the contents.

There are a few things to avoid, cooked food, meat & diary as these tend to attract unwanted visitors.  It is then up to you as to how active you are feeling and how quickly you want finished compost.  If you are in a hurry then grab you fork and turn the contents of the compost bin so you give it a good mix.  Try to do this every month or so.  By doing this you introduce more air helping to speed up the micro-organisms and bacteria that are hard at work.  Alternatively if you are happy to wait about 1 year you can leave it to do its thing without lifting a finger.

If you don’t have the room for composting there are plenty of places out there you can buy what you need.  I’ve found this site Compost Direct that’s got pretty much everything you might want in the way of composts & mulches.  There is also a handy calculator on the site so you can easily work out how much to order.

I’ve still got to build my compost bins, I’m planning on using corrugated iron sheets as I can get my hands on some for free and I’ve used them successfully in one of the gardens I work at, producing a neat and tidy composting area.  Mine will hopefully look similar to this when I finally get round to building them!

Compost Bins

 


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