Steps to Successful Home Composting

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Steps to Successful Home Composting

Steps to Successful Home Composting
Composting is Nature's way of recycling and helps to reduce the amount of waste we put out for the bin men. By composting kitchen and garden waste you can easily improve the quality of your soil and be well on your way to a more beautiful garden. The following easy guide to home composting will provide you with all the information needed to get the best out of your bin.
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Step 1
Placing Your Bin
On Soil
The reason you should site your bin on soil is that it makes it very easy for beneficial microbes and insects to gain access to the rotting material. It also allows for better aeration and drainage, both important to successful composting.
On Wire Mesh
One of the best ways to set up your bin is on a wire mesh base. To do this you need to dig a shallow hole (approximately 1 inch deep) that is equal to the diameter of your bin. Cut a piece of wire mesh to slightly larger diameter than the base of your bin and place it over the hole. Place your bin on top of both.
On Concrete
If you must place your bin on concrete, remember to add a thin layer of soil to get it started. This will help attract worms and other beneficial organisms.
Partial Shade or Sunny Spot
Placing your bin in either partial shade or a sunny spot can help speed up the composting process
Step 2
Put These In
Citrus Fruit Peel, Cores and Pulp
Citrus Fruit Peel, Cores and Pulp
Citrus fruit peels, cores and pulp can be added to your compost mixture, but may take longer to break down than other types of fruit waste. Chop them up into smaller pieces for the best results. Maintaining a variety of fruit and vegetable waste in your mixture is the best way to ensure composting success.
Grass Cuttings
Add old grass cuttings to your bin in small amounts and gradually over time. They should also be mixed in with more fibrous materials such as shredded paper and scrunched up cardboard. Young hedge clippings and fallen leaves are also good items for your bin.
Leaves are great ingredients for your bin. They speed up the composting process and are a valuable source of nutrients and minerals.
Personal & Household Items
A general rule of thumb is that if it rots, it can be composted. Personal and household waste including vacuum dust, pet bedding, wood ash, and shredded newspapers are all suitable items for your bin.
Compost Activators
Compost activators may be added to speed up the breaking down process. They can be purchased in liquid form or can be made at home.
Step Three - Keep these out
Certain things should never be placed in your bin. No cooked vegetables, no meat, no dairy products, no diseased plants, and definitely no dog poo or cat litter, or baby’s nappies. Putting these in your bin can encourage unwanted pests and can also create odour. Also avoid composting perennial weeds (such as dandelions and thistle) or weeds with seed heads. Remember that plastics, glass and metals are not suitable for composting and should be recycled separately.
Step Four - Making Good Compost
Making Good Compost
You can test the moisture level of your compost mixture by sticking your hand into it. If it feels too dry you can either add more greens or add some water. If you see ants in your bin it probably is because your mixture is too dry.
If you notice a strong smell coming out of your bin, it’s likely that your mixture is too wet. Add more browns to your compost.
Bluebottle Flies
The presence of Bluebottle flies are an indication that you’ve got meat or fish products in your bin. Remove them to get rid of the flies.
Fruit Flies
Fruit flies in your bin are not uncommon and are completely harmless. An easy way to discourage them is by covering all fruit and vegetable waste with a layer of soil, grass cuttings or shredded cardboard.
Furry Visitors
Furry visitors are only attracted to bins that contain meat, fish, bread or dairy items. Keep these items out and you will minimize the likelihood of unwanted pests visiting your bin.
Bees & Wasps
Bees and wasps around your bin is an indication that your compost mixture is too dry. Add cold water to fix the problem. If you happen to find a nest do not disturb it! Contact a professional exterminator.
Step 5
Using your compost
Finished Compost
Good finished compost can take up to six months to a year to make, but the process can be accelerated by regularly turning and mixing your compost bin.
Potting Plants
A good guideline for using your compost when potting plants is to mix 1 part sand with 2 parts sterilized soil or loam, and 2 parts finished compost. This formula will give you the best results.