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Compost. Part 1

Updated on October 13, 2012

how to make a garden compost

What is Compost?

Compost is the end result of the decomposition of organic material, or waste. This occurs naturally in the bush , or a forest, by the accumulation of debris from plant and animal material; and provided there is moisture present, either from rain, in the soil, or from the material itself, decomposition will occur.

With the assistance of microbes, bacteria, fungus, insects and worms - the organic matter is consumed, or broken-down, gently mixed, with the assistance of the worms and insects; and ultimately, transformed into an organically rich substance - readily assimilable by plants : the perfect fertiliser. In this natural setting, the actual transformation from raw material to compost, can take quite some time - as the process is reliant on the vaguaries of the climate and the availability of material.

Compost in urban environs, uses the same principles, with the added bonus of things being managed; and therefore a quicker process.

The Urban Composter.

How do I Make Compost?

Composting at home, is basically a means of Recycling the organic waste that a household produces. Kitchen and garden waste, makes up about 30% of all land-fill; this is where the smell from rubbish dumps comes from - organic material rotting. Unlike a compost, which is, organic material decomposing, with the help of microbial and worm action breaking it down.

A well balanced compost heap - does not smell!

If you could pile up all the discarded kitchen and garden waste, coming out of an average suburban home in a year - you would not be able to see over it. Does it not make more sense to return all of this back into your garden, rather than adding to the urban over-abundance of garbage tragedy? Some local councils are now supplying garden-waste-bins, collected just the same way as ordinary garbage, but then dumped at enormous compost-farms; and ultimately sold off as bagged compost and potting-mix.

When you add in the environmental costs, of adding new landfill sites, road transport emissions from ferrying all this waste around; and potential incineration, with the fumes that release into the environment - advantages of composting are clear, whether done on an individual basis, or commercially.

So! All your garden-waste, this is : lawn-clippings, any soft prunings (nothing too woody, nothing diseased); all leaves- from the roof-gutters, raked up leaves, swept up leaves; most weeds; and all spent annuals from last season.

Household waste : from the kitchen; all vegetable scraps; left-over meals (no meat, fish or dairy products - this will only stink and attract unwanted pests and vermin);egg-shells, egg-cartons; coffee-grounds and tea-bags; hair - from the brush, from the dog, from cutting hair; all floor sweepings; ash from the fire-place; whatever is in the vaccum bag; shopping dockets and paper-bags - pretty much, anything organic. Any large cardboard boxes, or large quantities of news-papers, worn out sheets and blankets - do not burn them, use them as mulch.

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