How to Compost & Why?

A rich and fertile soil is a dream of every gardener, as it is one of the most important elements in producing healthy fruit or vegetables. This can be achieved through applying lots of organic matter with composting. If you are new to composting, it means the breakdown of organic material via biological decay.

The Benefits of Compost Application

  • Maintains soil temperature
  • Increases soil life
  • Improves drainage to heavy soil
  • Increases water holding capacity of sandy soil
  • Increases resistance to drought, disease and pests
  • Saves money and time by lowering the need to water
  • Produces a healthy soil and garden
  • Better control of weeds and therefore less need to use chemicals, reducing pollution

The Basic (A-D-A-M) Composting Principle

  • A – Aliveness (allow all the living creature in you compost to stay alive)
  • D – Diversity (makes sure you have some variety in your compost heap)
  • A – Aeration ( makes sure you allow air in the heap via the use of PVC pipes)
  • M – Moisture (make sure the compost heap is moist by watering)

What You Should Compost:

  • dried leaves & grass clippings
  • vegetable or fruit peelings or leftovers
  • egg shells
  • animal manure
  • sawdust, newspaper, paper towels & egg cartons
  • tea bags & coffee grinds

What You Should NOT Compost:

  • meat
  • weeds with seeds or bulbs
  • diseased plants
  • dog or cat pee

Making Your Own Compost Heap

There are various methods for creating your own compost heap, however one that is strongly recommended is the alternate layer method. This method is a little more time consuming but well worth it as it produce compost more rapidly. It involves alternating between a ‘green/nitrogen‘ layer and ‘brown/carbon‘ layer. Follow the steps on the diagram to construct your own compost heap, note good aeration is attained via inserting old PVC pipes with 10mm drilled holes into the compost heap. Steps 3/4/5 should be repeated up to 1m in height. The heap should be turned over in week 2 and week 6, and it should be ready to apply on your soil in 10-12 weeks.

A ‘green/nitrogen’ layer contains:

  • food scraps
  • grass/lawn clippings
  • fresh clippings or trimmings
  • manure (exception – brown but nitrogen rich)

A ‘brown/carbon’ layer contains:

  • dry leaves
  • old lawn/grass clipping
  • newspaper
  • wood clips and bark & saw dust
  • tea bags and coffee grinds

By going out of your way to do composting, you will be doing positive things for your health and the environment. May this inspire you become more proactive in providing food for yourself and becoming more sustainable. As we say in the permaculture community, think globally, act locally.

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One Response to How to Compost & Why?

  1. small business grants says:

    What a great resource!

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