Make your own compost!

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The making of compost from your garden supply of leaves and cuttings is easy and one of the best ways to practice recycling in your garden. Compost is the only way to improve the condition of existing garden soil, it helps to bind loose soil and improves drainage in clay soils. One can never over do compost in the garden, compost is the foundation of any garden and the more you add the better your garden will grow.

How to get started:

Step 1: You don’t need a bin to make compost. A pile of leaves, grass clippings and other garden waste will do but a bin does keep the compost contained and looking neater. An easy alternative is a simple 1 meter square wire cage made from chicken wire. A three-cage system allows you to turn the compost from one cage to another and store finished compost in the third until you are ready to use it.

Step 2: The two basic elements that make up compost are green garden debris (grass clippings etc) and brown garden debris (dry leaves). Green ingredients are high in nitrogen and brown materials are high in carbon. Do not add animal waste, meats, oils, dairy, diseased plants or weeds that have gone to seed to your compost. Compost piles with a balance of one part green to two part brown materials break down fastest.

Compost Activator speeds up the process

The addition of Compost Activator will also increase the speed at which your compost is ready for use. The easiest way to achieve this balance is to add one part of green material to the pile, top it with two parts of brown material and mix them together. Add in a spade of garden soil to help kick start the microbial activity in your pile after every layer of about 30cm.

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Step 3: Compost also needs the correct amount of moisture to breakdown. Compost with the right moisture level should feel like a damp, wrung-out sponge. Too
little moisture slows down the decomposition rate and keeps the pile from heating up. Check your compost pile’s moisture level once a week and adjust it if necessary by adding water to increase moisture.

Step 4: Turn the pile once a week to move material from the outside of the pile in. Turning also keeps the pile from compacting, which reduces airflow and slows down decomposition.

Step 5: You should have finished compost in about two months. You’ll know your compost is finished when it no longer heats up and you can’t identify any of the original materials. The compost should be dark brown, moist and earthy smelling. Dig finished compost into your garden or as a layer on the
surface as mulch