Friday, December 24, 2010

How to Compost Effectively

The Zeal Group




 What is composting?
 Composting is nature’s own recycling program. In time, organisms will break down the ingredients listed below into rich, dark crumbly compost - nature’s own nutrient-rich fertiliser.

How does composting work and how long does it take?
Natural composting, or decomposition, occurs all the time in nature. Home composting generally takes two months or more. The more you turn and mix the contents - adding air in the process - the more rapid the composting action will be.

The right conditions include
the right ratio of nitrogen to carbon - equal amounts of ‘greens’ (kitchen scraps) for nitrogen and ‘browns’ (fallen leaves and woody material) for carbon
the right amount of water (feels like a damp sponge)
good drainage (to remove excess moisture)
enough oxygen (turned often)
What can you compost at home?
Vegetable and fruit scraps
Fallen leaves
Grass clippings
Finely chipped branches
Used vegetable cooking oil
Tea leaves, tea bags
Coffee grounds
Vacuum cleaner dust
Egg shells
Sheets of newspaper
Paper bags
Shredded paper
What can’t you compost?
Metal, plastic, glass
Meat and dairy products (attract rodents)
Large branches
Bones
Plant bulbs (need specialised treatment)
Droppings of meat-eating animals (e.g. dogs)
Grubs in your compost?
Sometimes in compost bins there are many segmented brown grubs. These are the larvae of the beneficial Soldier Fly. They are not pests, nor will they cause health problems.

Mulches
Mulches can prevent up to 73% evaporation loss and they are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make the most of water in the garden.
The best mulch is a well-rotted compost which will also improve the soil structure and stimulate the biological life of the soil. Place the mulch away from the trunk to prevent collar rot.
Do not apply mulch more than 75-100 mm in thickness or water may not easily penetrate into the soil.