May 05

5 Composting Tips

1. Prevent slimy compost

Slimy compost may be caused by too little air, too much water or the wrong mix of ingredients. Your compost heap should contain around a 50/50 mix of high nitrogen green materials and carbon rich browns. Too many greens can cause slimy compost. Turn the compost heap regularly to aerate the heap. Failure to turn the heap is the main reason for poor results. Keep the heap covered if possible.

2. Make worm compost if you have a small garden

Worm compost is no substitute for regular compost from a compost heap. However, if you have a very small garden you may not have room for a compost heap and probably don’t have enough organic matter to put on it. Worm compost is produced from a wormery. Worms live in the wormery and waste is regularly added then broken down by the worms and can be used on the garden. Particular species of worms (eg Eisenia foetida, E. andreii andDendrabaena veneta) are used and the wormery should be kept warm to be active.

3. Wee on your compost

The urine in your wee is high in nitrogen. That makes it a good activator for your compost heap, particularly if you have a high content of carbon rich brown materials. Another nitrogen rich activator is Garotta. If your heap contains a lot of nitrogen for example grass cuttings you may need a carbon activator.

4. Use a sieve

Sieving gets rid of any chunky pieces of material before you put it on the garden. Materials that are removed can be put back on the compost heap.

5. Heat kills seeds and diseases

Compost heaps can either be ‘cold’ or ‘hot’. Hot compost heaps compost materials more quickly and also kill seeds and diseases. Some diseases will be killed by the microbial action alone, however heat kills more diseases. If you do a little planning you can increase the chances of having a hot compost heap. Getting the conditions right, adding the right mix of materials and adding sufficient materials at the outset can make it more likely you will get compost that is hot to the touch after a few days. The heap will then cool down and any seeds and diseases will have been killed.

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