- A good compost should be made up of equal parts of green and brown organic matter. Brown matter is the dry material in the compost and may include anything from dead grass, to dried leaves or needles. Green matter would be considered anything that still has obvious moisture in it like fresh grass clippings, vegetable and fruit scraps or tree clippings. TIP: try to avoid using scraps that have vegetable oil or butter on them and avoid using matter from diseased plants.
- Cut or grind your green and brown matter into pieces as fine as possible as this will promote faster decomposing of the matter. TIP: choose matter for your compost that will be easier to cut and grind. For instance, try to avoid composting branch clippings or any matter that can’t be easily cut with a spade.
- Keep your compost pile contained in an enclosed bin and keep it moist (Not containing your compost pile may cause it to attract unwanted vermin like possum and mice). TIP: Be sure to turn the compost over with a small spade at least once a month to keep the air circulating through the moist compost.
If you follow the steps above you will likely end up with a nice aerated compost that can yield the following benefits to your organic garden:
- It will help your soil absorb water faster by improving the structure of your soil thus facilitating fast effective feeding of your plants roots.
- It aerates your soil which in turn allows air to penetrate down to the root level of your plants where air is needed to foster healthy growth.
- It adds nitrogen and other nutrients to your soil to boost growth and vigor in your plants (however it shouldn’t be relied upon as your garden’s only source of fertilizer).
- With proper soil structure and aeration, the water you apply to your garden is more efficiently used by the plants allowing you to water less.
Composting is a great way to promote sustainable gardening, but if not used correctly may cause unwanted issues in your garden. By following some of the steps and tips above, hopefully your composting experience will be a fruitful one!