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Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Composting - Common Mistakes

It's actually difficult to go wrong with composting. However, these tips might help make composting, or breaking down of organic components, go more quickly and smoothly.

1.      Water the pile. Keep your compost pile moist, as damp as a squeezed sponge. You might have to water regularly if you keep an uncovered pile, especially in the summer. Even lidded containers can be opened to water; just use the spray of a hose now and then but be careful that you don't overwater. The final mixture should be crumbly.

2.      Remember to add brown ingredients. Sure, the green is easy; you've got lots of grass clippings and plant debris. And all those kitchen scraps, even eggshells. But what about the brown? Shred dry leaves, twigs or hay for the fastest decomposition, and consider adding sawdust or untreated wood chips. You can also add tissue paper, shredded newspaper and cartons to bolster the brown, in moderation.

3.      Now mix it thoroughly if your set-up makes it difficult to re-pile,  or otherwise swirl around the ingredients if you are making use of a tumbler bin or similar setup, settle for a longer composting cycle. The pile will break down, it just takes longer.

4.      Avoid any bones, fat, meat, oil or cooked food. Also, don't place animal manure in the pile. It attracts rodents and affects the quality of the compost.

5.      If you have a composting bin move it to a convenient place in the yard, so that you can easily carry the kitchen scraps there. If you don’t make it easier for yourself, you may never actually get into the composting habit.

Now that you’ve followed these tips, your composting should be a lot easier. Happy gardening.

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4 comments:

One said...

Thank you for sharing.

Donna said...

Important things to remember...even though my container is in the shade it dries out quickly...watering is vital...

Elephant's Eye said...

Our poor compost was cooking, baking, roasting. Had it too close to a vibracrete wall facing into the afternoon sun. And the Agent Orange neighbour ;~(( Now we've moved it, and built a slatted canopy.

themanicgardener said...

I have to admit that I've never seen anyone recommend adding sawdust. Most people have too much brown, not enough green in a pile, unless they're just dumping their grass cuttings and expecting them to compost. (ew, what a sticky mess!)
--Kate