How to make really good compost

Composting is an entirely natural process. In every field and forest, plants die and decay. They are fed upon by the organisms living in the soil and eventually the plants break down and become humus, which creates a healthy base for growing once more. Garden composting is much the same process. Compost needs time and assistance to control the conditions to encourage hundreds of organisms, including worms, insects and bacteria, to thrive. They’ll then feed on the organic matter in your compost bin, producing a lovely rich dark compost. You can short-cut this process by adding a Wiggly Turbo Charger to your Garden Composting Bin or Area

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Find a level, well-drained area and site your bin or your heap on soil. That way you can take advantage of microbes and earthworms which will come up into your compost from below.

Ideally, a bin should be between 1 and 1.5 metres square. Natural materials like wood are best, as it breathes and helps air flow within your compost. Always use a lid to avoid too much rain dilution.

Nearly all organic material can be composted, but to ensure that the compost does not turn into a smelly, slimy mess there needs to be a mix of carbon-rich waste (browns) to provide energy for the organisms which are going to do the work and nitrogen-rich waste (greens) to provide the protein for them. Browns are “woody” materials like cardboard, leaves, and straw. Greens include grass clippings and kitchen waste. To make the perfect compost, you need an equal ratio by weight between the greens and browns. Practically, this means if you add lots of lawn clippings then add a layer of cardboard or woody waste to keep the balance. Avoid fats, meat, and dairy products – they will compost but they will also attract vermin.

Once worms populate your compost heap they will aerate it, just as they do in your soil, and so at that point no mixing or turning is needed. To speed things up, add a Turbo Charger of worms (which will do just what it says on the tin…). If your compost smells, aerate with a compost mixer, and if you have lots and lots of grass clippings adding Complete Rot for Grass will really help avoid any slime.

If your heap is warmer than the outside air then all is well, and it needs to be quite damp but not really wet. If it seems to be the same temperature as the outside air, add more green waste or a really good activator like rabbit droppings or manure.

After about six months the mixture will turn dark brown and crumbly. It will be full of worm casts – also known as black gold – and it will smell slightly sweet and earthy. That’s it. Good job.

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