How to Make Your Own Compost

How to Make Your Own Compost

How to Compost waste into valuable nutrients for your plants; the guide will help you to lessen waste and replenish your soil at the same time. Composting is a sustainable way to recycle your waste, which ultimately will help to reduce landfill waste and improve your plants' growth.

Which materials can be composted into valuable nutrients for your plants

A mix of materials is needed to create a balanced compost that is perfect for your plants.

  • Brown materials are rich in carbon and include things such as dried leaves, straw, cardboard, twigs and newspaper.
  • Green materials are high in nitrogen and can include fruit, vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, eggshells, garden waste such as grass clippings, weeds (without seeds), and other plant materials.

What you need when making your own compost

Firstly, you will need somewhere to store it, permanently - or at least for a long time. Compost can take from just 3 short months to years to break down and form the perfect garden medium. How long takes depends on what you put in and how you care for it. When you have created space, think about what you will store your compost in. From large, dalek bins to wood pallet bins, there are many options. Think about your space and what fits.

How to compost waste to make valuable nutrients for your plants

You can build a compost bin from pallets or even dig a trench in your garden. However, a bin may be better at keeping pests out of the compost pile. You can also add worms (vermiculture) to help break down kitchen scraps and use a special vermicomposting bin. Darlek bins are readily available as well and can now be bought in various shapes and sizes for all size spaces. Don’t add diseased or pest-infested plants, meat, dairy or anything oily into your compost pile.

A good compost heap consists of a 50/50 mix of nitrogen and carbon mixed materials. Nitrogen will come from green materials such as grass clippings, annual weeds, tea bags and carbon comes from brown materials such as cardboard, straw and woody stems. So every time you add some green materials, try to also add in the same amount of brown materials. Scrunching up paper, cardboard toilet roll tubes and egg boxes to help aerate the compost. If you have too much nitrogen you will end up with a soggy pile or too much carbon means it will take a very long time to break down

Maintaining your compost heap

  • Your compost pile will need to be kept moist but not too wet, and you’ll need to aerate it with a fork every now and again. Aeration ensures the heap doesn’t get smelly and can help to speed up the process.
  • Layer some brown materials at the bottom and add green materials on top. If it’s a new compost heap, add in some ready-made compost or soil to incorporate some beneficial microorganisms. From here, it is ideal to continue layering if you can, but if that’s not possible, make sure you turn and mix your compost as best as you can.
  • Add water if needed every now and again.

Using your homemade compost as valuable nutrients for your plants

Firstly, you’ll need some patience. A compost pile can take some months to be ready for use around your plants. There are various factors involved, such as temperature, materials use and how often the pile gets turned. You’ll know when it is ready because it will look more like soil that is dark and crumbly and will have a lovely earthy smell. The best way to use your compost is to mix it into your garden soil, use it as a mulch or even make a compost ‘tea’ to feed your plants.

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