If you want to compost in a way that doesn’t hard the planet, take a look at these handy eco-friendly composting tips.
Are you trying to make your garden more eco-friendly? Are you hoping to do your bit for the planet both inside and outside the home?
Composting is very beneficial, especially if you’re one of the massive percentages of the UK looking to try and help the earth with small changes that have a significant impact.
Composting is a great start when it comes to creating an eco-friendly garden. It is a beneficial way to feed your yard while reducing your waste and avoiding the use of non-eco friendly fertilisers and products like peat-based compost.
To help you get started, we have the ins and outs of composting so that you can begin to use your waste to give back to the earth in a truly wonderful way:
The Composting Process
Composting is easy, and it works by placing the right waste into a container or a pile so that over time, it rots and breaks down to the point it becomes a fertiliser!
It takes about three months to turn your waste into compost, but it does depend on the size of your heap. It also depends on your maintenance of the pile as the more aeration the materials inside is getting, the faster they will break down.
Composting is extremely beneficial in lots of ways including (but not limited to):
- Not having to take garden waste to a recycling centre
- Not having to limit gardening because your brown bin is full
- Being able to make use of kitchen waste
- Fertilising your garden
- Producing healthier plants
- Avoiding contributing to landfill
- Avoiding the use of garden products that are not eco-friendly
How To Compost At Home
You can choose to compost in a pile, or a special composting bin, depending on your needs. There are special tumbling composters and elaborate setups, but if you are a beginner, realistically the best option for you is the easiest option.
You can even start with a pile if you want to but do be aware that scavengers, pests and insects may be attracted to a delicious collection of scraps, especially in summer when it could start to smell.
Ideally, your pile will be in a shaded spot, away from the house but close enough for you to manage it well.
Once you have something to put the compost in, you can then get started composing, which follows a basic mixture of various waste from your property.
As a general rule, composts made of three different groups which are browns, greens and water. The browns are the part that gives you the carbon and come from your dead leaves and garden waste. You can make compost called leaf mould entirely from fallen leaves, and you can find out more about that here.
In addition to your browns, you have greens which are your turf cuttings plus your kitchen waste. The greens give your compost its nitrogen.
Lastly, there’s the moisture which helps to get everything to rot down.
What You Can And Can’t Put Into Your Compost
Once you understand the basics of composting, it is essential to understand what you should be putting into your compost and what you really shouldn’t as specific additions can ruin an entire compost pile.
What You Should Compost:
- Horse Manure
- Coffee grounds
- Non-plastic teabags
- Raw fruit
- Raw veggie scraps
- Paper (shredded and plain)
- Grass cuttings
- Plant trimmings
- Animal sawdust
What You Should Not Compost:
- Plants or plant trimmings that are diseases, such as roses with a black spot
- Chemically treated paper or wood
- Dairy of any kind
- Any cooked food
- Used tissues
- Face Wipes
- Coal ash
As a general rule, keep anything that made from chemicals and toxins well away from the compost heap.
Additional Tips For Composting
As well as getting the basics of composting right, there are lots of extra things you can do to make your compost bin effective such as:
- Turning or mixing it up regularly if you can as oxygen is needed to help the microbes get what they need to work
- Cut anything you add down as small as you can, like shredding paper or chopping up large pieces of vegetable
- Ensure it is kept damp by sprinkling it regularly (it should feel like a moist sponge)
- Add a homemade compost accelerator
What To Do With Your Compost
You can mix your compost with the soil to pot plants, or mix it into your garden soil, or allotment soil to improve the nutrient density of your outdoor spaces.
You should not add worms to a compost bin as the process will happen without them. If they find their way into your compost bin naturally, then that’s fine!
If you do want to compost with worms, then there are specific processes and rules to follow. You can find out more about worm composting (vermicomposting) here.
Indoor composting is an efficient small scale way to compost if you do not have a big outdoor space. You can buy products that compost for you (with a few pieces of maintenance).
You can also get bins where you add your organic waste then take it all to the compost heap when it is full. Which is an excellent option if you want to avoid having to keep taking trips to the pile, or you want to avoid nasty food smells from keeping the food scraps in an open container in the kitchen.
With the right setup, making your compost is very easy. It is also a great start to making your home and garden more eco-friendly without much effort at all.
For more tips on eco-friendly gardening, check out our Wezaggle eco-gardening section on the blog which we are always updating full of handy tips and information.