We know that certain types of waste are biodegradable: capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. Under certain conditions, these types of waste can become great compost materials for our homes and gardens. There is therefore no need to continue disposing of such useful materials since they are ultimately not waste at all…
Some of the benefits of compost include:
- Provides nutrients in a form that plants can use
- Enriches soil health and enhances the soil food web
- Improves & builds soil structure
- Neutralises soil PH
- Improves drainage
- Creates water-holding ability in soil, thereby requiring less watering
- Acts as a buffer to toxins
- Free plant food – mineral and microbe rich
- Wards off plant diseases
- Increases crop yield
- Reduces overall household waste generation
- Cost savings by reducing the use of inorganic fertilizers, etc.
SUITABLE COMPOST MATERIALS include fruit and vegetable scraps, paper, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, dried leaves, eggshells, fresh grass, manure etc…
Remember to maximize the surface area of materials by ripping, crushing or chopping. Aim for pieces not bigger than 2 – 3 inches (5 – 8 cm) and a good mix of carbon-rich materials (like paper and dried leaves) with nitrogen-rich materials (such as fruit and vegetable scraps and fresh grass).
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COMPOST OPTION:
Composting is easy and there are several options to choose from depending on individual needs, space, time and other preferences. Some options include:
|COMPOSTING OPTION||COLD COMPOSTING||HOT COMPOSTING|
|Plastic/Garbage Bags, etc.||Yes||No|
HOW TO MAKE A COMPOST PIT
- Dig a hole or trench to required depth (depending on volume of compost materials). Reserve the removed soil.
- Add the well mixed compost materials or place in alternating layers of brown and green with 1 inch of reserved soil between layers.
- Cover pit with 4 – 8 inches (10-20 cm) of soil.
- Keep the compost pit sufficiently wet while it is decomposing. Inadequate moisture will prohibit microbes from breaking down organic matter.
Your compost should be ready in 6 to 12 months. The best way to take advantage of your pit is to plant directly over your compost area(s).
- Remember to stay away from existing root systems when digging to avoid damage to roots.
- Do not add animal products like meat, bones, dairy or fat to your compost. This is because they can go rancid, present a health risk, attract rodents or other unwanted pests.
Sit back and let nature do the great work of breaking down your ‘waste’ organic matter into healthy plant food!