Gardening with Bek - Composting

Composting
We have all heard the term and heard how good it is for our gardens. There are pre-made varieties available too that are fantastic and you will need these if you have lots of gardens but the satisfaction of composting our kitchen scraps into garden gold is too wonderful to be missed! Plus you know you are doing something really pro-active to help the environment too.
Composting is easily done in a heap in the back yard, a bottomless bin straight on the garden or in one of the huge variety of tumblers and compost bins designed to make the whole process easier, lighter work and space savvy.

WHY compost?
*      Compost is a naturally occurring process in a healthy garden habitat.
*      Compost encourages earthworms, good bacteria and micro-organisms that are all important to a healthy garden. They help aerate the soil resulting in stronger root growth.
*      Compost has nutritional value and good compost when generously used, enables plants to obtain vital foods for healthy growth, which helps them be more resilient to pests and diseases.
*      Compost improves the soils ability to hold moisture.
*      Compost improves all soil types from sandy to clay and everything in between.
*      Compost is an effective way to reduce household waste.
Compost in the soil helps to grow strong, healthy, pest resistant plants
Composting Tips
There are several techniques when it comes to composting and many ways to great compost but some of the key principles are:
*      Composting works on temperature. It can get above 60`c in the centre of compost; these high temperatures will kill most weed seeds (note: not all weeds should be composted), insect larvae and nematodes, while creating a fast working, controlled process of decomposition.
*      Aeration is a very important aspect of effective composting, a compost heap should be turned with a fork to allow air in, and a tumbler turned.
*      For faster compost, pieces should be as small as possible.
*      Do not use as a dump.
*      Compost should be kept moist but not soaked.
*      Too wet compost will give off a foul odour. A heap can be covered with a tarp during times of heavy rainfall.
*      Compost is too dry if you cannot squeeze a little moisture out of a handful.
*      Moisten compost with liquid fertiliser like watered down Seasol, fish emulsion or water.
*      You must balance kitchen scraps with lots of carbonaceous material (grass clippings, hay, leaves, cardboard, newspaper, sugar cane, saw dust, legumes etc) at a rate of at least 10 dry matter to 1 scraps.
*      Accelerators can be added, there are commercial ones available and you can also use things like watered down molasses.
Your soil will benefit greatly from compost and be richer, hold moisture better and look beautiful
Compost do’s and don’ts
Do add:
*      Leaves, grass clippings.
*      Pruning’s – try and chop up small or will be very slow to decompose.
*      Spent vegetable plants likes tomatoes and bolted lettuce.
*      Egg shells.
*      Fruit and vegetables scraps.
*      Pine needles in small quantities.
*      Cardboard, paper and shredded newspaper (avoid glossy printed material).
*      Rinsed seaweed.
*      Tea bag contents and coffee grounds.
*      Juicer leftover contents.
*      Chicken manure.
*      Old potting mix.
*      Wood ash in small amounts.

Don’t Add:
*      Pet manure, pig manure, human waste
*      Cat litter
*      Plastics
*      Metal
*      Meats, dairy products and fats – this can attract unwanted rodents and harmful bacteria.
*      Weeds gone to seed.
*      Treated wood.
*      Magazines.

*      Diseased plants.

Growing vegetables at home is one of the most exciting elements you can bring into a child's life


      "As a passionate horticulturalist if there was just one thing I could pass on to people with gardening, it would be to love and nurture your soil."

    It is a vital part of a healthy, strong garden and time spent on this will save you so much time, effort and even disappointment in the long run.

Want more of my edible gardening tips?
Why not subscribe to the blog at the top right hand side and check out my book The Pram Diet where I talk a lot about growing organic edible at home, even in pots!

     (c)RebeccaMugridge2013 No part of this may be copied, quoted or reproduced without Rebecca's written permission

18 comments:

  1. Very nice, comprehensive article. I will be tweeting this.

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  2. Interesting, I didn't know anything much about composting before this - I would have just thought it was a huge scrap pile and you just threw whatever onto it. Thanks for the info!

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    1. Hi Mamagoingsolo! Thanks for reading, yes best not too or you can get all sorts of problems Xx

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  3. I actually write about this subject a lot, but have never done anything about it - but probably because we're too much of 'townies' now ;)

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    1. It is harder in the city, but there are so many super cute and clever little devices now available which is great Xx

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  4. I've just knocked up a vegetable garden and am going to start our own compost bin. Bags of compost are like $9. Starts getting a bit pricey after a while. Good tips.

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    1. Yes it sure does add up, especially if you lots of large gardens, but so worth it Xx

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  5. Great tips! We must get our compost bin back in action now that we have some veggies growing again. I will be coming back to read this when we do :)

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  6. Who knew there was so much to know about composting! I certainly didn't. I must also add that the recipes and the pictures in your side bar look delicious!! Josefa #teamIBOT

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  7. Really great post on composting. I had no idea about this until reading your article. Thanks for the good earth friendly tips.

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  8. What do you think about coffee grounds? Do you compost them or just use them directly on acid-loving bushes?

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  9. What a great life lesson you teach your child! Great points about composts, but what grabbed my attention your little girl with curious eyes absorbing her lessons! Beautiful!

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  10. I've tried composting a few times, but I never have the dedication to stick to it! And the smell really bugs me, cause it doesn't take long for our heat to cause an odour.

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  11. Great advice, Bek. I've composted tons in the past, especially when I lived in Australia. I even used to collect cuttings from neighbors. We should all work in harmony with the earth.

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  12. Excellent tutorial on compost. I am a devotee of compost and enjoy making it almost as much as settling down for a good movie! ha!

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I love that you found yourself on my blog!
Thank you reading.
Have a gorgeous day!

Rebecca X

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