It is the breaking down of vegetable waste and garden debris by living organisms (bacteria, fungi and algae) into a form that can be used to put goodness back in the soil.
WHAT CAN I COMPOST?
The diagram below shows a selection of materials from your own house and garden which can be used.
Vegetable and fruit peelings, apple cores, vacuum cleaner contents, old woollens (cut into small pieces), paper (which is loosely crumpled into single sheets and dampened, or shredded), torn up paper packaging, tea bags & coffee grounds, grass cuttings, hedge clippings and leaves. These are just some examples of ideal compost material.
This very much depends on the site, the weather and the material being composted. Well rotted compost can be produced in a couple of months or it can take a year or two. As long as the contents of the heap are no longer recognizable (other than egg shells, twigs, corn cobs and other materials that take a long time to rot), and have turned a brownish black colour, they can be used in the garden.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH IT?
Spread it on flowerbeds or the vegetable garden. If you require a fine product for adding to potting compost for example it will need to be left longer to mature.
Activators can be used to increase the rotting process within the compost. There are many different types of activator that are available and most are environmentally friendly. They include the following :-
- A layer of stinging nettle leaves, simply sprinkled on top.
- Soak 2lbs (900gms) of Comfrey leaves in two pints of water (approx.1 litre) for 10 days, then pour the mulch over the compost.
- After every 3 inches (75mm) of compost sprinkle one part urine to seven parts water.
There are also other activator products obtainable from Garden Centres which have been widely used. They include Garrota powder, Sulphate of Ammonia, Fish Blood and bone Fertilisers sprinkled on at a rate of 2ozs (50gms) over the top of each 3 inches (75mm) layer. A layer of seaweed also acts as an excellent activator.
THE COMPOST BOX
A compost heap can be rather unsightly, however, by enclosing it in a wire netting container lined with cardboard or old carpet the following advantages are obtained.
- Rain is kept out (rain can cool down a compost heap)
- Prevents material drying out, particularly at edges
- Aids heat retention
- Keeps heap looking neat and tidy
Gosport Borough Council (as a partner of Recycle for Hampshire) has teamed up with getcomposting.com to provide an exclusive offer of reduced priced home compost bins, Water Butts and accessories.
To find out more and to view the full range of products go to: getcomposting.com or call 0844 571 4444.