Is there anything more gardening than composting? Doesn’t that exemplify what it is all about – taking nothing, making something, using everything, turning it all over, rejuvenating and revitalising = gardening.
And compost is all recycled, self-made and inexpensive, and contains more food and minerals for the plants than any fertilizer you can buy, and it is the only fertilizer you can use to plant seeds or seedlings in without harming immature roots.
This is a good time to get thinking about compost, as it is quick to make during the heat of the year - whenever that will be, but apparently it is coming our way soon!
Here is how.
- Use a wide range of ingredients, anything that was once alive, from grass cuttings and weeds, to kitchen scraps, even old clothes made from natural fibres, paper, and the odd dead chicken, if you can keep it in the compost, without those that roam freely, that are everywhere, getting to it.
- You will need a smallish simple bin, less than a cubic metre. This keeps everything close and tight, creating the heat needed to destroy harmful pests and help break it all down. 2 bins this size next to each other are handy to move the compost between when mixing and turning, and can hold over 1 tonne of compost.
- Put in your materials to about 8 inches thick and wet it completely. Cover that with a thin layer of manure and soak it in. If you don’t have manure to hand, blood and bone is another great source of nitrogen. Add more of your organic material, and then more manure, and keep on layering and soaking until the bin is overly full –like layering lasagna, and your plants will find it just as tasty!
- You will know if you have used too much water as it will be cold and smelly and you will have to turn it very thoroughly to break it up.
- This heap will start to become hot quickly, especially in summer. If you are happy for it to take its time, leave for a few months. If you are in a hurry, turn it all, ‘fluffing’ it up, to allow the air to circulate and add more water. Do this every 2 or 3 days and within 3 weeks it should have turned dark brown, smell pleasant, like earth, and be nice to handle – compost!
Then just add to the soil and see your plants grow!