Composting 101: The Beginner's Guide
Composting is any easy way to make use of waste and give back to your garden. Follow this step-by-step guide and you'll have the composting process down-pat in no time.
WHY SHOULD I COMPOST?
Finished compost is an invaluable soil and fertiliser for your garden. Adding compost to your soil improves its quality and texture, which helps with air circulation and water retention and drainage. Compost returns beneficial nutrients and organic matter to the soil, encouraging healthy plant growth and fertility. It’s also great for the environment as it wastes less water, keeps important resources out of landfill, and contributes to reducing greenhouse ages.
WHAT DO I NEED?
- Compost Bin - Investing in a good quality compost bin is worthwhile in the long-run. Check out our sturdy Macrocapa Compost Bin. It's user-friendly and designed for the ultimate composting convenience.
- Compost turner
- Garden fork
The "Green" Materials
- Fruits and veggie scraps, coffee grounds and filter, green cut grass clippings, flowers, seaweed, fresh leaves, fallen fruit, hedge trimmings
The "Brown" Materials
- Twigs, hay and straw, eggshells, sawdust, dried leaves, soil, shredded cardboard, nutshells
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
- Select a spot - Easily accessible, level and has god drainage. It’s best to sit it on exposed soil rather than concrete or paving. This allows worms and other organisms to enter the pile.
- Add the base layer - Think of your compost bin as a cake or lasagna with multiple layers. Start of by placing all your brown ingredients at the bottom of your bin. This organic matter is high in carbon, which provides energy for the organisms consuming your composted ingredients. Water this layer thoroughly to promote the bacterial growth needed to break down the contents. Fast-acting compost piles contain around 40 to 60 percent water, so don’t miss this step out.
- Add the second layer - This will be your “green” ingredients. Add enough in to create a similar thickness to the below layer.
- The last layers - For the third and fourth layers, return to the brown and green materials and moisten with some more water. Alternatively, you can finish this off with a thin layer of soil to introduce ingredients full of microorganisms.
- Finish it off - Top the compost off with any food scraps or other green materials. Your compost is ready when it resembles a rich, dark soil. Our composting bin has removable panels so you can access the finished compost that’s ready-to-use.
TIPS & TRICKS
What Not to Compost
Some materials like veggie fats or dairy can be added to your pile but will simply slow down the process. There are materials that should never be added to your bin due to risk of poisoning or disease. These include:
- Meat, Bones, Plastic, Whole Eggs, Metals, Human or pet faeces, Diseased plants, Chemicals, Gum leaves, Glossy magazines, Treated wood.
Your compost will break down faster or slower depending on the size of the material. Quicken up the pace of the process by breaking large ingredients up into smaller bits before adding it to the pile.
Air It Out
One way to help speed up the process is to give the pile access to air. Once you have a full bin, use a garden fork to turn the pile or fluff it up, every 14 days or so. Using materials like dried leaves and shredded newspaper also allows air to be captured, as they create gaps in your compost.
Don't have the space, time or resources for a compost system, but still want the benefits in your garden? Check out our range of good quality composts below. Or see our full variety of soils & compost here: