Compost! What’s all the fuss and why even bother composting? It may surprise you but the average person throws away their own body weight in waste every 7 weeks and this number is increasing. Every year we on average we throw away 3% more than the previous year which is an alarming trend. Thankfully composting can help you reduce your carbon foot print and at the same time turn your spoil into soil.
If we want compost fast we need to rule out a cold compost as cold composting takes between 8 and 12 months. The Berkeley method, for making hot compost developed by the University of California, Berkeley which produces high quality compost in 18 days. For this reason hot composting is the way to go. Which method you use is entirely up to you but here are some suggestions that may be useful.
Bearing in mind 30% of the waste thrown away by the average household can be composted so you wont have any trouble finding materials. So go ahead cut back all the bushes, shrubs, hedges and plants. Cut the grass, pulled up all the weeds and clear all the moss. What now? Now to turn all this green waste into something that resembles compost.
The How To Bit
Begin by making a pile in made up of various layers of green and brown matter. Ensure the heap is at least 1.5 meters high. Your green materials are high in nitrogen. Things like grass or green leaves, fruit and vegetable scraps as well as animal manure. Basically anything that will rot down quickly is classed as the green layer. High carbon materials are your “browns” dried leaves, straw, cardboard, sawdust, twigs and branches which tends to rot down more slowly. Stack a green layer on to a brown layer until you have a nice pile at least eight to nine layers high. Hose down with a little water if it dry and then let nature get to work. This pile will begin to warm up rather quickly. If it’s not working you probably haven’t go you levels of green and brown right just make sure you keep an eye on it and are adjusting the levels of green and brown, it’s trail and error. Just remember to keep it hot and oxygenated, anywhere between 55 and 65 degrees Celsius should do it. Turn every 2 to 3 days until your happy with the results anywhere between 18 and 30 days should do it. For more information why not try reading our post on Adding Organic Matter To Soil? It may provide you with further information on the topic.
Until next time. Learn as you go & learn as you grow.
Your friendly Suburban Farmer – Edible Gardens Team
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