How Does Compost Work
Compost is decomposed organic matter. Microbes, with the help of oxygen and water, break down the organic matter into a nutrient-rich fertiliser and natural pesticide.
Where To Compost
- Composting Indoors Living in a small flat with no outdoor space shouldn't stop you from composting. Mini compost bins will get the job done. You can make your own small kitchen compost bin by drilling holes in a small rubbish bin with a lid.
- Small Garden Composters A small front or back garden gives you the option of having outdoor compost bins. You can make your own small compost bins by drilling holes in rubbish bins. Keep your bin in a sunny place with access to water so it can stay warm and damp. You may also want to prop it up on bricks or stones to allow for drainage.
- Large Composters If you're lucky enough to have a large garden or allotment you can delve into the world of wooden compost boxes and compost heaps. These are larger, open-air compost piles that you can fence around with chicken wire or wooden pallets.
What To Put In A Compost Bin
Make alternate layers of brown and green materials, starting with brown. Water the compost between layers so that it's as moist as a damp sponge. Start with a 1:1 ratio of brown to green and adjust as necessary.
Stir and aerate your compost at least once a week. Mini compost bins can be shaken or stirred with a large kitchen utensil. Lidded outdoor compost bins can be tipped on their side and rolled or tumbled. Large compost heaps can be mixed with a pitchfork. In a few months you'll be treating your plants to gorgeous compost.
You'll know you need to adjust if your compost begins to smell. Healthy, well-balanced compost does not smell. If yours is getting stinky you'll need to adjust your ratio of green and brown materials. Luckily this is quickly corrected and the odour should disappear in just a few days.
- Ammonia Smell
There is probably too much green material in your compost. Fix this by adding more brown material like straw, leaves or newspaper. If using a bin, leave the lid off for a day or two to let it dry out a bit.
- Rotten Rubbish Smell
The compost is probably too wet and is not decomposing properly. If using a bin, leave the lid off for a day or two to let it dry out a bit. You could also add dry, absorbent material like newspaper.