WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO START?
You can start composting at any time of the year. Now is as good a time as any.
DO I NEED TO BUY A BIN?
Not necessarily. Placing your organic waste in a pile in the back of the garden will still yield the same results, however, it may take an extra year to get there. For a more regular supply of compost for your garden, a
compost bin will produce a good batch every 3-4 weeks. Contact your local authority for advice or visit www.recyclenow.com
WHAT CAN I COMPOST?
The four main ingredients of compost are green, brown, water and air. Green ingredients include grass clippings, leaves, weeds and kitchen waste; brown includes dead leaves, straw, hay and wood shavings or chips (an ideal ratio of green to brown is between 5:1 and 8:1).
Keep the mixture damp and turn it all every few days to reintroduce oxygen to the pile. The best food based ingredients for your compost bin are the raw peelings, cores and scraps from your fruit and vegetables.
Tea bags, coffee grounds and crushed eggshells are also valuable to the composting process.
Steer clear of any dairy or meat based products; including fish and bones. Similarly, cooked food (including bread) can have quite a strong aroma and may contain either oils or meats.
If the contents of your vacuum cleaner consist of just household dust, then you should not have any problem with adding this material to your compost bin.
CAN I STILL COMPOST EVEN IF I DON’T HAVE A GARDEN?
Difficult. In theory, wormeries can be used inside as they should be odourless and hygienic. In practice it is not usually recommended.
WILL IT ATTRACT RODENTS?
If there are rodents in the locality, they will take advantage of the shelter and food that a compost bin offers.
Deter thems by lining the base, sides and top of the bin with a heavy-duty metal mesh with holes less than 1.5cm in diameter. Chicken wire is not suitable. The most effective mesh is the type used by builders to strengthen concrete. The compost bin should also have a tightly fitting lid.
Rodents are shy creatures and prefer to remain undisturbed. Regular use of a compost bin is likely to cause too much disruption for a rodent to want to stay.
WHAT IS THE BEST SITE FOR MY BIN?
Insects will enter your compost bin from the soil in your garden, so your should sit your bin on bare soil. This will help the beneficial insects and other organisms to move into your compost bin when the conditions are right for them.
DOES COMPOST HAVE A “SHELL LIFE“?
Compost will survive being bagged up and left until you are ready to use it. Leave a little of the old material in the bottom of the compost bin as it contains all the useful micro organisms that are needed to get the process going again.