Composting really does exemplify what gardening is all about, self-sustaining, regenerating, vital, rewardable, tangible, giving back as much as is put in.
Like all things gardening it does require some attention and ongoing work, but it is not hard work, just more about habit than anything else.
There are many ways to compost, but in general the main thing to keep in mind is that compost needs a good mix of heat, moister, air, carbon and nitrogen, as does all life. In its simplest form, it is just a combination of food scraps, leaves, any organic matter, put together to break down into nutrient super rich soil food. Like baking a cake, different applications of ingredients will create a different result, some nicer than others. For consistency, here is an easy recipe.
- Locate the compost in a warm part of the garden or use a compost bin – compost likes a cosy home.
- Fill with scraps like fruit peel, trimmings from your veggies, coffee grounds, eggshells, dry leaves and grass clippings. The smaller the bits you put in, the faster they will break down, so if you want it to happen quickly, cut down the bits you put in.
- Avoid meat and dairy – the compost that is, as well as pet waste and diseased plants.
- When filling the compost, layer it with the food scraps, then the dry leaves and grass clippings, and repeat
- Keep it moist, but not soggy
- Stir regularly
- Keeping it covered will stop excess rain and pests and help maintain its heat. I use a layer of oak leaves, which turns into a blanket and just becomes another layer.
- And let it do its thing. Be patient, depending on the set up and season it could take between 2 weeks and 2 months.
- Once it is looking dark and brown and smells like the earth, spread it around the veggie garden like a security blanket.
- And just keep adding and feeding and watering and stirring and it will keep producing more of the perfect food for your plants and garden.
- It is good to have at least two on the go, one ready and for use, the other being added to and prepared for use.
And that should make your veg happier, healthier and tastier.