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Home Composting

By: Kelly Fenn - Updated: 28 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Home Composting Compost Bin Soil Garden

Fancy getting green fingered in the garden but don’t know how to get started? Establishing your own home composting system at home is a quick and easy way to begin your outdoor quest to tame your garden. Making your own compost – fertile and nutrient soil - will really kick start your flower plant, fruit and vegetable growing and help create a beautiful, luscious garden.

Composting in the UK is becoming more and more popular. According to Recycle Now, the number of UK households composting both kitchen and garden waste has increased by nine per cent to nearly a quarter of the population over the past seven years, and this trend looks set to continue.

Plus, it’s a great way to reuse your natural waste that would otherwise fill your bin and get sent to a landfill site. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get going…

  1. Buy your Composter

    Before you do anything else, you should purchase a good composting bin. You can find one inexpensively through most local councils, or at a gardening centre. Or alternatively, you could use Recycle Now’s postcode service in order to help find your nearest stockist with special compost bin offers.

  2. Get the Location Right

    Once you’ve bought your composting bin, you need to find a good location in which to place it. Firstly, choose somewhere either in partial shade or sunlight as this speeds up the composting process. It’s also important to ensure that your bin is placed on a flat and well drained surface; ideally on soil so beneficial organisms and insects can access the soil. Inserting a wire mesh underneath the bin can also benefit the compost bin.

  3. What to Compost

    Make sure you place the right sort of items in the composting bin to ensure you produce a healthy and nutritious end product. Generally speaking, if it rots, it can go in the composting bin (but see what not to compost below). As such, composting is a great way to reduce the amount of waste you put in your bin. Here are some examples of what to throw into the compost:

    • Vegetable and fruit peelings
    • Used teabags
    • Vacuum dust
    • Shredded newspapers
    • Pet bedding
    • Leaves, grass cuttings and other garden waste

    In order to get the breaking down process started, you may also wish to include compost activators.

  4. What Not to Compost

    You should be careful what you put into your composting bin. This is to ensure that you produce healthy soil, as well as avoiding unwanted visitors and unpleasant smells. Among others, you should dispose of these items in a different way and not in a composting bin:

    • Cooked vegetables
    • Meat
    • Dairy products
    • Weeds or diseased plants
    • Used nappies
    • Tins, cans and bottles

    Of course, you should always try to recycle glass, plastic, metallic and other recyclable objects at your local centre rather than throwing them away.

  5. Wait for the Finished Product

    Once you’re in the habit of adding compostable waste to your composting bin, it’s time to sit back and wait for the compost to start breaking down properly. Keep your compost to a suitable consistency – not too wet and not too dry – which you can do by adding different types of dry and moist materials. You should also keep the compost oxidised, through mixing it up or throwing in scrunched up cardboard pieces. Compost takes between six to nine months to fully develop.

  6. Start Using your Compost

    You’ll know when your compost is ready when you see that the soil at the bottom of the composting bin is a dark brown or black in colour and soft in texture. Mix it in with plant soil and into flowerbeds to give them a healthy boost in nutrients.

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