All things Compost!
Composting, as WRAP explains, is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. It’s easy to make and use.
Home composting is easy to do and great for the environment as it prevents food & garden waste being sent to energy from waste. Research shows that 6.7 million tonnes of food waste is thrown away each year, costing an average family as much as £50 a month. Why not recoup some of those costs by home composting for free. Did you know that composting at home for just one year can save global warming gasses equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually. Or all the gases your washing machine produces in three months.
What’s more at the end of the composting process you get free natural fertiliser for your garden. Your compost is a nutrient-rich food product for your garden. It will help improve soil structure, maintain moisture levels, and keep your soil’s pH balance in check while helping to suppress plant disease.
We asked around our office on their thoughts on home composting and our resident “composting pro”, Yasmin, had a quite a few good things to say.
“Home composting is the most natural way to create fertiliser, and reduces or even eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers when growing plants and vegetables in your back garden. As well as my own food growing, it’s one of the most natural ways for the larger scale agriculture to promote higher yields of agricultural crops, and reducing the need for water & pesticides”
How to get started?
If you’re buying a composter, make sure it’s well-insulated. This is important because the bacteria that breaks down the matter requires heat to work effectively. As compost can take up to 6 to 12 months to produce, its a good idea to have two composters side-by-side.
For best results, try to set up your compost bin on soil and in a place where the sun reaches it. This will help with drainage and will ensure your compost gets the heat that it needs.
- Moisture : Watch the moisture level of your pile. All the spring rain can add too much moisture if your pile doesn’t have good drainage. You want your pile to be as wet as a wrung out sponge. Too much water will cause the pile to go anaerobic (no oxygen will cause the pile go smelly)
- Aeration: Once temperatures warm up, aerate your pile. Food scraps tend to accumulate over the long winter months since the pile is mostly dormant. When your pile unfreezes all of those food scraps will start to decompose at once. Aerating will keep that decomposition going and speed it up.
- Additions: Add weeds and plant trimmings to your pile but don’t add any fats, pet droppings or animal products. These can attract unwanted pest like rats to your compost pile.
As it’s International Compost Awareness Week we’re giving you a chance to take away some free compost! Come visit our stand at Richmond May Fair this weekend and you can takeaway two bags per person. It’s on a first come first serve basis so get there early to avoid disappointment.