Composting is what nature does naturally turning organic debris into valuable nutrients, micro organisms and beneficial fungi. We can emulate nature in our own gardens by creating a compost heap to easily get rid of kitchen and garden waste that combined together will produce nutritious, delicious ‘food’ that plants love.
Compost can be made from any organic matter and is usually a mixture of 2 parts ‘woody’ material such as twigs, dried leaves, paper and card-board, and 1 part ‘soft’ material such as kitchen waste, non-invasive weeds, lawn clippings, coffee grounds etc. placed in layers. When selecting material to compost be mindful that meat and fish waste may attract rodents. It’s a good idea to chop or shred larger pieces of material so that it will decompose quicker. Using a wide range of ‘woody’ and ‘soft’ materials usually produces better balanced compost. A little sprinkling of Lime between the layers is also of benefit. Good aeration is essential for successful composting so take care that your layers are not too dense.
Warning: - do not use lawn clippings that have been treated with any sort of herbicide.
Locate your compost bin, heap or pit on bare soil in a warm sheltered spot preferably where it will not get hot afternoon sun. It is important that the compost stays moist so you may need to add water in hot dry weather and cover in winter to avoid your compost getting too water-logged. To give you an idea of the correct amount of moisture think of what a squeezed sponge feels like – that’s the level of moisture you should be aiming for.
Your finished product should smell quite sweet and look dark and crumbly. Layer this lovingly around your favourite plants – especially your food crops – and your garden will love you right back with healthy happy plants and improved soil condition.
Wairere Top Tip: - A layer of Comfrey leaves (an easy to grow herb) will speed up decomposition.
Wairere Nursery 826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: Open 7 days 8:30am-5pm