Sunday, March 9, 2008

Making Compost At Home - Day 1

My first real attempt at making compost at home.

In How To Make A Compost Bin I described how I'd finally built a decent sized free (almost) compost container. I built it out of the timber from an old fence we'd pulled down. The enclosure comprised two bins. My intention is to use one as an active heap will I will use the other to accumulate new material for use in the next compost heap.

While I've made compost at home before, it's only ever been in small plastic bins. It's taken a long time to break down and become useful for the garden. For those who don't know, it's a great soil conditioner. It's a great way of recycling organic matter from around the home and garden and if you're into organic gardening, it's the bee's knees.

Anyway, I built my backyard composting bins out of old timber and today I filled up one of the two bins. I used a combination of brown and green waste. The composition is not terribly scientific - just what I had lying around the yard mixed together in a ratio which I thought might be roughly right.

The materials I used were roughly as follows:

  • 50 percent dry leaves (maple, oak and gum leaves) and some broken up bark and twigs
  • 30 percent lawn clippings
  • 15 percent kitchen scraps - vegetable and fruit peelings, tea bags, egg shells, etc
  • 5 percent partly composted material from my old compost bin.
I also added some chicken manure just as a compost starter although I suspect the dregs from by old bin would have done the job.

The material filled the bin to about one cubic meter. I mixed it all quite well and watered it enough to be damp but not wet. It's in a shady, sheltered spot in an out-of-the-way corner of the backyard.

So now we wait. I'll turn it over with a garden fork in a few days. I'll write an update about how I'm progressing in my latest attempts at making compost at home.