The Magic Compost Mix

Composting is an essential practice that blends organic recycling with creating nutrient-rich soil for your garden. The benefits of composting are simple: it gives you great soil to work into your garden while reducing the volume of waste going to landfills. Composting is a natural process that has been used for centuries and is still widely popular today. When you talk about composting, everyone thinks it’s great, and everyone who does it has an opinion. However, if you are starting out, all these opinions can be daunting, sometimes to the point that you don’t know where to start or, even worse, give up before you get going.

In 2016-2017, Australia generated more than 30 million tonnes of organic material, according to the National Waste Report. Shockingly, 6.7 tonnes went to landfills, and about 43% of that was food waste and scraps. This is all biodegradable material that doesn’t need to take up scarce landfill space. The slower we fill landfills up, the fewer of them we need. So the first lesson of composting is to do your best to keep all organic matter out of landfills.

When you consider composting, there are a few basics you need to learn to get started. For composting to take place, you need a mix of water, air, sunlight, and what composters refer to as green and brown materials. When you combine these in the right measures, you’re going to get a rich topsoil mix that will give your gardens a natural boost. Composting is not just throwing your scraps on a heap in the backyard. It’s a process that requires some knowledge to be successful.

compost, Green Home and Garden

Green and Brown materials

Green materials are those organic materials that are high in nitrogen, such as fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, grass clippings, and fresh leaves. All of these have a high moisture content and decompose quickly. As they decompose, they give off a ripe smell. Green materials are essential for providing the necessary nutrients that your plants need to grow.

Brown materials are different because they are high in carbon. They are things like corncobs, bread, dead leaves, sawdust, twigs, and branches. They have a much lower moisture content, and as a result, they decompose more slowly. Brown materials are necessary for balancing the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio in your compost pile.

While green and brown materials are opposites in the way they work, when they are in your compost pile, the mix of brown vs. green will determine how much the pile smells and how quickly it decomposes. Everyone will tell you their perfect combination, but it comes down to how ripe your pile is. Aerobic composting is a smelly business, and the general rule with your compost pile is the more brown you have, the less it will smell. And by smell, I mean STINK. You could have one part green materials to two parts brown materials, and some people even have one part green to twenty parts brown.

compost, Green Home and Garden

The more brown your compost pile is, the slower it will break down. If you want rich soil from your compost quickly, you’ll want less brown material, and you’ll have to learn to deal with the smell. However, if you have the patience to wait, a more significant amount of brown material will eventually yield nutrient-rich soil.

You have to keep your compost pile damp and oxygenated. This means checking your pile regularly and turning it over to keep the air into your materials. It’s that damp aerated environment that allows the microbes to thrive and break down your materials. The microbes are responsible for breaking down the organic matter into the rich soil that your plants will love.

A well-composted pile will look really consistent and much more like soil than scraps. It will have a dark, crumbly texture and a pleasant earthy aroma.

compost, Green Home and Garden

If you’re in an apartment, you can also compost. Although, we’d recommend an anaerobic approach to composting. There are many great bokashi composting solutions that will help you run a sealed container for your compost. Some of these systems use bokashi bran while others use a fermenting spray. You can read more about anaerobic composting in this article.

In conclusion, composting is an excellent way to reduce waste and provide your garden with nutrient-rich soil. It’s a simple process that requires a bit of knowledge and patience, but the rewards are worth it. Do you have any composting tips or tricks that you’d like to share? Feel free to write to us in the comments below.

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