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How to use a compost bin

Date posted: 3 November 2014

It’s one of the easiest, most environmentally-friendly things you can do. Making your own compost stops the landfills from being clogged up so much, it is fulfilling to do – to watch your household scraps turn into healthy and nutritious food for your garden - and it stops the need to buy nasty chemical fertilisers.

When it’s compost time, you should think of everything you throw away and see if it’s biodegradable. This means that anything from your veggie scraps and peelings, fruit cores, eggshells, newspaper, coffee grounds and toilet tissue tubes you simply throw it all into the composter. If you want to give your garden the best chance to grow and be teeming with health then a special compost box is a great investment. You can create a compost heap in the open air but with a container you get better results and they look nicer in your back garden too.

Don’t forget, when you cut your grass throw the lawn clippings in there too. It’s best to leave a little on the grass anyway so the grass absorbs the cut blades back into the soil, but the majority of it needs to be kept in the compost bin.

The Compost Bin

Depending on your budget you can buy a plastic container that has a built-in stirring handle or is on a spit. This makes it so simple to turn the compost which invigorates the materials inside and helps then oxygen get to it. More oxygen means it’s faster to breakdown and create nitrogen, which is what gives the plants and your lawn so much more life, health and nutrients to flourish.

Bacteria grows inside the compost bin and turns the organic matter into rich, juicy compost. Mixing it once a day helps speed up the process and in a month or two you will be able to use the compost on your garden. Gardeners and prize-winners swear by compost that’s been ‘cooking’ for some time in a composter bin. I say ‘cook’ as the bacteria spreads it releases heat and it can even steam up inside the box which helps the process speed up once it’s started.

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have a few months then you can use some existing, matured compost to kick start the process. You’ll find that January is probably the best time to start so the heap has more time to develop into a dark, rich and nutrient-packed mound. By adding existing compost it’s essentially the same as making bread with sourdough.

When it’s compost time, just think how much money you will save from buying a compost bin instead of bags and bags of compost for your garden. You’re not only protecting and nourishing your gardens and lawn but you’re protecting the environment, stopping landfill sites from filling up with usable produce and saving money too. Remember, the longer you give the compost time to grow, develop and consume the clippings and organic waste the more nutrients it will have. You can add some earthworms to help feed on the waste too.

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