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HOME COMPOSTING BASICS…

Home composting replicates exactly what happens in the natural world, such as a forest floor where plants, leaves and animals die, fall to the ground to decompose and add organic product to the earth.


Over time, these items rot over that forest floor, and mix together to decompose to make soil which new plants can grow in. This is because compost is rich in nitrogen and other nutrients which plants need to thrive.


Anything that used to be alive and organic can decompose, which produces a new resource that the environment can utilise to continue growth.




Taking that process from nature into the home garden, we do this same system but speed it up for better environmental practice. And we get to create a resource out of that our waste we produce, which we can harness to grow beautiful things from.


Food, plants, soil, and air all contain microorganisms, and when all of them come together in a heap the crafty little microorganisms spread to decompose the organic matter. And out of that compost is born.


Considering one out of five grocery bags in Australia end up in landfill it is a community service as well as a great gift to the planet by setting up your own compost system.


Types of composting systems:


Open based bin compost systems: One of the most popular ones is basically a bin or container that has no base so the worms have direct access from the ground into the bins, and a lid. The system is forked over about once a week or so, mixing all the components and when ready, you can just lift the entire bin up and the compost is accessible to use/pile into buckets or a wheelbarrow to transport.


Tumblers: Great for anyone who has limited physicality issues such as a bad back, plus is a bit tidier than other systems as it is off the ground and contained. It also eliminates any threat of rats and mice in your compost. Can be a little limited due to smaller sizing so may not be great if you produce a lot of waste.


Trench composting: Placing scraps into trenches dug in the garden soil to decompose under the earth. This can attract vermin and does take a lot longer than other systems, but great if you are time poor.


Where to source the composting systems : local nursery centres, tip shops, online or via local Council who may subsidise your purchase (Compost Revolution are involved).


How to:


Composting is fun, and can simply start with you adding a pile of kitchen scraps to your new compost bin and then repeating that every time you have access to scraps. A good healthy compost system is beholden to what you feed into it. And it’s very simple. But you do need more than just kitchen scraps.


There are four magical ingredients which will activate your compost and ensure it is in good health and won’t smell AND they are four things we ALL have access to:


  1. Green materials – rich in nitrogen.

  2. Brown materials – carbon rich.

  3. Air.

  4. Water.


All of these components need to mix together to react and therefore cook and decompose at a good rate.


Green materials are anything from the kitchen (food waste - veg, herbs, fruit, egg shells, coffee grinds, tea bags) and garden waste such as dead and spent plants, and grass clippings.


Brown materials are anything that used to be alive but are now very dry, such as leaves, shredded paper, or ripped up cardboard, egg cartons, and toilet roll holders.


Mix equal parts green with brown and add water. Your compost system should be moist but not wet. If it gets too wet it produces slush which smells and then it is out of balance. Should that happen just add more of your brown materials to soak it up.


Air. Now this is where you come in. Using your garden fork, a special purpose corkscrew compost turner, or a shovel, turn over the compost. Ideally once a fortnight. Think of it as a good workout with no gym fees!


Your compost should be ready to use within about three months, but if you are a little slack with turning it that is ok, it still will decompose but will take a lot longer.


A word about citrus, garlic and onions – you can add these, just cut them up as fine as possible as they do take a while to breakdown. Worms don’t like these but will eventually eat them.


Avoid adding meat, animal products, rice, bread and pasta to your compost. Get a Bokashi Bin if you are keen to compost those items. Do not ever add domestic animal waste in the compost.


Some people complain about rats and compost, but please remember – they most likely were there before your compost anyway. Hate to be the bearer of bad news: rats are always present, compost system or not. They are a part of nature. If they are a problem, sprinkle some chilli powder around your compost bins.


If you are struggling to get enough brown waste (newspapers, paper, envelopes) go on a paper hunt at work, or ask your local school etc – they always have too much of this waste!


Rocking Hot Tip : Add Munash Organics Rockdust once a month to your compost systems to bring balance to the compost bins, increase biodiversity, and more worms will appear meaning a healthier compost system!


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