Ever wanted to Make your own compost?
As any gardener will testify, plants require additional nutrients that are often lacking from the soil they are planted in. One popular way to add additional nutrients is to utilise good quality compost. Although compost can be purchased in various types and sizes, as a means of being frugal and of ensuring the quality of the utilised compost it pays to make your own. The process itself is simple enough and requires only a few steps and some manual labour to achieve the desired results.
Firstly a container of some form is required, this could be an old dustbin, a purchased plastic or metal container or a purpose built do it yourself type arrangement. Many garden centres now offer affordable compost bins, which are ideal, alternatively one can be produced by simply erecting a wooden beam arrangement in a corner of a garden, ensuring that it is self-contained and that one side can be removed to gain easy access. In terms of the materials utilised within the bin, this should be composed of different layers of material that will rot.
One of the first elements to be placed within the compost is a form of drainage material at the bottom. Ideally something such as straw or some sort of coarse material should be placed at the bottom of the bin, measuring approximately 4 inches in total. This provides the required drainage. The next layer should be garden waste which can include a variety of different materials including paper-based materials, fabrics such as cotton or wool as well as uncooked vegetable trimmings and grass cuttings, all of which provide ideal compost material. Items that should be avoided include synthetic fabrics, food scraps, meat and bones as well as diseased plant material or pests.
One of the key factors regarding creating compost is heat. This is achieved by introducing bacteria and fungi which breaks down the organic material. This is one of the critical elements as it is this particular action which creates the compost. To aid in this particular element, a sprinkling of manure or soil can be added on top of each layer.
Once the compost material has been placed within the compost bin, the layers need to be covered with a sheet or tarpaulin, or alternatively an old piece of carpet. This then needs to be left for three months, at which point the compost needs to be uncovered, taken out and then reintroduced back into the bin to add air, enabling the compost to rot much quicker. This all then needs to be left for a further three months to allow the compost to break down and become brown and crumbly at which point it is ready to use.