Thursday 24 April 2014


Upwards of 30% of the garbage a household thrown out each week could potentially go into a compost pile. When we cut domestic waste generation we are extending the life of a landfill site, and this is better for environmental management for our entire community.
Composting is easy, basically you are creating a pile of waste and waiting for it to decompose.

Your veggie patch, and your pot plants, LOVE compost. Unlike with traditional fertilizers, the nutrients in compost are fed to living plants in slower amounts. Compost gradually releases a variety of nutrients at optimal times when they are required by plants that are actively growing.

If you have no idea on what you can and cannot compost here is a list for you.
A good compost pile is a healthy compost pile. Ensure your pile is made up of a variety of things to get a good mix of textures and plant nutrients.

Compost pile ingredients that are high in carbon.
“Brown” or “dry” ingredients:
Autumn leaves
Grass clippings
Peat moss
Pine needles
Wood chips
Wood ash
Coffee filters
Hay and straw
Houseplant and garden clippings

Compost pile ingredients that are high in nitrogen.
Garden refuse is called “green” or “wet” and is high in nitrogen. This includes:
Coffee grounds
Tea leaves

Some things like grass clippings are both “green” and “brown” depending on what stage you add them in.

Things you should NEVER add to your compost pile.
Pet waste (which can contain extremely harmful bacteria)
Meat, fish, dairy products, fats and oils may create unpleasant odours that attract rats and other four-footed critters that you don’t want visiting your garden and compost pile.
Any plants that are diseased or insect-infested as they may endure the heat of the compost pile.

Backyard composting creates a finished and free soil amendment and fertilizer for your garden. By adding compost, you will improve the overall texture of your soil, enabling it to retain and drain water better. Plus it is a win win situation, you are cutting down on household waste which only adds to landfill.

My sweepings, all ready to go in the compost bin. 

I have a composting bin which speeds the process along. However, Eartheasy Website gives this table on how to compost without a compost bin:

1. Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.
2. Lay twigs or straw first, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile.
3. Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. If you have wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers, or they will clump together and be slow to break down.
4. Add manure, green manure ( clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along.
5. Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let rain do the job.
6. Cover with anything you have - wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked and sodden.
7. Turn. Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn with a pitchfork or shovel. This aerates the pile. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning "adds" oxygen. You can skip this step if you have a ready supply of coarse material, like straw.
Once your compost pile is established, add new materials by mixing them in, rather than by adding them in layers. Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion. 


  1. Yes compost is fantastic, and well worth the effort, I keep a lidded container for scraps under the sink next to a basket for recycles, so it is all quick and easy.
    My composter is a tumbler and gets a handfull of Comfrey leaves (which grow nearby) and a handfull of sheep manure each week, it helps to activate the process.
    My tumbler needs 1 part wet to 2 parts dry to get a good result, not sure what a yard pile would need.
    Kids love to help tear up the newspaper into thin strips (the little local free one) it tears easily from the "spine" side, breaks down well and holds moisture, I also use white paper that has been through the shredder.
    The local market sells sheep, cow or chook manure for $7 a bag , which lasts nearly a year...bargain !

  2. I can't wait til we build our home in Fiji and can get to things like composting. How long have you had a compost? Because we don't compost we try to be really careful and conscious of our consumption and what we're throwing out.

  3. I bought the compost bin as it is easier living in rentals. I have had this lot going since we moved in.

  4. I too have a lidded container in the kitchen. All of on (non animal) food scraps go into this. This is then feed to the chickens. Then I collect the chicken poo with the hay that I line their bed with and then this is added to the compost bin.


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