December 6th, 2010 - 

Composting is an excellent way to recycle kitchen and garden waste. It is very easy to build your own compost bin and use the compost to help your garden grow.

How Composting Works
Composting is the decomposition of materials that originated from animals and plants. These organic materials can be things such as plant trimmings, vegetable cuttings, eggshells and teabags. The composting process produces a dark, crumbly matter that can be used as fertilizer in garden soil. The main stages of composting are:

– Adding organic materials to a compost bin
– Micro-organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, break sown the soft material.
– This causes the compost pile to heat to around 60°C. This is the ideal temperature for micro-organisms to work at.
– The compost pile then cools to below 30°C.
Small creatures such as worms and insects then break down the tougher material.
– The whole process usually takes about 3 – 9 months, and results in a nutrient-rich fertiliser to use in your garden.

– The compost that is ready to use can be taken from the bottom of the pile, leaving the rest to finish the process.

How to Build a Compost Bin
– You can buy a compost bin or build your own. Compost bins are usually sold at DIY and gardening stores.
– Build a compost bin by creating a frame out of wood and attach it to the ground using posts.
– Your compost bin should be able to hold about 200-300 liters, try and use a bin with a lid to keep out the rain.
– The compost bin should be placed in a well-lit and well-drained area of the garden.
– Try and keep the compost bin out of the wind.
– Improve drainage by breaking up the soil underneath the compost bin.
What You Should and Shouldn’t Compost

What TO ADD to your compost pile:
Hair and fur
Shredded paper
Straw and hay
Animal bedding and sawdust
Crushed egg shells
Grass and plant cuttings
Raw fruit and vegetable trimmings
Teabags and coffee granules
Horse manure
What NOT TO ADD to your compost pile:
Meat or fish
Coal Ash
Animal waste
Nappies and used tissues
Dairy products
Cooked foods
Colored or treated paper
Chemically treated wood
Diseased plants
Persistent weeds

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