Grotec’s Green Guide to Organic Composting for Beginners
In the gardening world there are old rumours digging around about Organic Composting being too complicated, smelly and very messy. It is, well, only if you do it the wrong way.
There are many types of composting, however they have the same goal, to feed the valuable soil microorganisms that are the worker-bees of the underground. In this article, we’ll be talking about Organic Hot Composting – the easiest method out of them all to ensure you have the best-looking garden on the block!
Organic Composting Benefits
Organic Composting has a wide range of benefits not just for you and your garden, but also the environment. Not only does composting save water by helping the soil retain moisture and reduce the natural water run-off, composting also benefits our environment by recycling the organic waste while conserving landfill and the production of methane gases.
Some more benefits of composting are increased amounts of beneficial microorganisms, nutrients and organic matter. Composting also helps to lighten clay soils, helps sandy soils hold water and nutrients, protects your plants from drought, the harsh sun and other extreme weather conditions.
Do’s and Don’ts of Organic Composting
When it comes to Organic Composting, you can’t just throw anything and everything into the pile in the hopes that the good will balance out the bad, instead here are a few tips on what to compost;
- Fruit and Vegetable Scraps
- Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags
- Grass and Plant Clippings
- Finely Chopped Wood, Bark, Straw and Sawdust
- Shredded Newspaper
- Dry Leaves and Herb Leaves
Grotec’s Green Tip: Avoid adding things like Onion, Garlic and large amounts of Eggshells. It’s believed that the Onion and Garlic repel the precious earthworms which are detrimental to your garden’s ecosystem. Eggshells take some time to break down, instead try crushing them up and sprinkling them over your lawn for an added Calcium Boost.
Avoid adding the following materials;
- Dairy Products
- Weeds that go to seed
- Dog, Cat or Human faeces
- Sawdust or Bark that have been treated
- Diseased Plant/Food Material and anything treated with Pesticides
- Anything that contains Meat, Soil, Fat or Grease
Not only are these materials bad for Organic Composting, they can also add unwanted smells and attract nasty pests that you don’t want to entertain..
Green and Brown Organic Materials
The first step to creating your own hot-compost heap is to wait until you have enough organic materials to make the pile a minimum of 1 meter high, this will ensure that the first batch of Organic Composting will be of a good size.
Now, begin combining the green and brown materials into the pile, alternating with layers of both green and brown. If the compost pile looks too dry and brown, add some more green materials, if the compost pile is too wet and smells, add more brown materials.
How to care for your Compost Heap
Watering your compost pile regularly so it has the consistency of a damp sponge is the easiest way to monitor the moisture. You don’t want to drown all the Organisms working hard for you, leaving your pile to begin rotting and attracting unwanted pests.
To monitor the temperature of the compost pile and ensure the materials are properly decomposing, reach your hand into the middle of the compost-heap and see if the pile feels warm. Compost heaps should be giving off heat, that’s how you it’s cooking.
Compost piles also needs a regular flow of oxygen, turning it once a week with a garden fork will help it to cook faster. Remember to use your muscles when using the garden fork, if you do it right the first time you won’t need to do it again until the next week.
When the compost pile is no longer giving off heat, becomes dry, brown and crumbly then you know the cooking is done and the eating can begin. (No, not for you, the plants!) Add in-between 4 to 6 inches of the compost to each of your garden beds at the beginning of every season and watch the magic happen.
We hope you enjoyed this article on Organic Composting and would love to see some photos of your creations, send them through for a chance to be featured!