Tips For Successful Home Composting

The Location

Place the compost bin on bare soil, preferably not on concrete or tarmac. This enables the worms, insects and micro-organisms to work their way into the bin to help break down the materials. It also allows any excess moisture to drain away to prevent the composting material from getting water logged.

Locate the compost bin in an area where it will receive sunlight for all or part of the day. The heat will help speed up the composting process.

Getting The Right Balance

Adding a mixture of greens and browns in equal proportions will speed up the composting process. Adding too many greens will produce a smelly sludge. If too many browns are added there will not be enough moisture or bacteria in the bin to kick start the composting process. It is better to add materials little and often rather than in big loads.

Moisture Content

The compost should feel like a wrung out sponge. If you add a balance of greens and browns to the compost bin the moisture content should be just right. To prevent water-logging make sure the bin is covered to keep the rain out. If the compost heap does get too wet, simply add more brown materials such as hay and straw to absorb the excess moisture. Water the heap if dry.

Aerating The Compost

Turn, stir and mix the materials in the compost bin about once a month. This will aerate the mixture and provide the worms, insects and micro-organisms with more oxygen which will aid them with their composting work.

Compost Activators

Adding nettle tops, grass clippings and chicken or pig manure can help speed up the composting process - but remember to add a balance of browns too.

Other Tips

Shredding and chopping materials into smaller pieces will also speed up the composting process.

Your finished compost should be found in the bottom of the bin and it will be rich and dark in colour. You may need to dig off the top part of your compost and leave it to break down for a bit longer.