Next week is International Compost Awareness Week and with so many of us at home right now, what better time to discover the world of home-composting. In this blog, we’ll be sharing everything you need to start your successful home-composting journey, from understanding why composting is important and how to build your unit, to feeding your compost and maintaining a healthy mixture.
Home composting is the most environmentally-friendly way of dealing with kitchen and garden waste, saving up to 30% of household waste going to landfill! The process can be used all year round and creates a beautiful compost that can then be used to improve the quality of your garden soil.
Home-composting is not just limited to those with gardens; you can use an outdoor compost heap or an outdoor or indoor compost unit. Contained composting units will make better compost, as they retain some warmth and moisture.
How does it work?
Homemade compost is naturally rich in nutrients but relies on particular conditions such as warmth, moisture, drainage and air. However, compost is dependent on the microbes that are responsible for the decomposition process. When supplied with favourable materials, these single-celled organisms get to work and begin to break down our waste.
Here’s how to get started…
Step 1: Making your composting unit
You will need:
1. Container with lid
3. Nylon screen/insect mesh (pair of old tights will also work)
6. Shredded newspaper
Drill five evenly spaced holes in the lid of the container – this is to allow ventilation, as air is a necessary component to help the materials in your bin breakdown.
Cut the insect mesh big enough to cover all air holes and glue to the underside of the container lid. This mesh will prevent bugs and fruit flies from getting in and out of the compost.
Step 2: Let’s get composting
Start by adding some soil to the bottom of the container, then add some shredded newspaper.
For a healthy compost, you will need to add two main components; these are known as ‘green’ and ‘brown’. See below for some examples:
GREEN – Eg. vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, eggshells, grass cuttings
BROWN – Eg. cardboard, paper bags, twigs and egg boxes
Of course, don’t forget to add our packets once you’ve enjoyed our crisps – these will take up to 26 weeks to biodegrade if you look after your compost.
Step 3: Keep your compost happy
You will need to stir your compost once a week to aerate the mixture; this is to ensure even decomposition. Microbes are busy breaking down the materials – but need oxygen to do so!
If there is a problem with your compost, it’s likely you’ll know about it! Here are some ways to prevent or solve any issues:
Adding shredded newspaper or dried leaves is a great way to control unwanted acidic odours by balancing the wet-dry content ratio.
Keep rodents and pests at bay by choosing a compost container with soil sides. Stick to only adding green or brown materials, no meats, fats or dairy!
If decomposition is taking a long time, check you are keeping the contents small, e.g. cut up banana peels, not whole. Remember to turn the compost once a week to aerate the mixture – this will speed things up!
Planting with our Packets
Not only do our crisp packets make a great addition to your compost; they also are perfect for planting seeds. You can place seeds or cuttings, along with some compost into an empty crisp packet and plant it straight into the ground. The packet will slowly decompose, leaving your flowers and plants blooming!
We’d love to see where your home-composting journey takes you, so don’t forget to share your updates and tag us in your photographs.
Happy home composting!
Sean & Mark