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Why should I start composting? What is it anyway and what will I do with it once I have made it? Understanding the value of finished compost is one of the best ways to get into composting.
Often referred to as “Black Gold” by organic gardeners, it’s relatively easy to make, virtually free and good for the environment. Why wouldn't you want to do it? We have compiled our top 10 reasons to start composting today!
Top 10 Reasons to Start Composting NOW
1. It's good for the environment
About half of what we throw into the garbage bin is food and garden vegetation. Composting reduces greenhouse emissions and reduces your carbon footprint because when organic waste ends up in landfill, it decomposes without oxygen and produces methane and carbon dioxide both of which contribute to Global Warming.
Almost half of all household waste is organic and can be recycled through composting, by doing this you are not only reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfill but you are also helping to reduce greenhouse gases and protecting the environment.
2. Turn your trash into treasure
Organic gardeners call compost “Black Gold” for good reason. It is rich in nutrients and minerals that will help your garden thrive and is made purely from organic waste product which would have previously ended up in the bin.
Composting forms an integral part of the sustainable garden food chain. From the garden to the plate and back to the garden again.
3. Compost helps your garden to retain nutrients and water
Compost is a nutrient rich fertilizer that helps soil retain water. Compost also improves soil aeration by creating air pockets between soil clusters. This basically create the most optimal environment for plants to thrive and flourish.
4. It will save you money
It’s economical – you probably already have all of the things you need to make compost and you’ll save money in the long run by not having to buy soil and plant food. By using the compost that you have made as a soil conditioner or mulch, this will reduce the need to purchase these products which can lead to significant savings.
5. No need for chemicals
It eliminates the need for chemicals, additives and sulphurs - more organic compost means less chemicals which equals a cleaner, healthier environment.
Compost is essential if you are wanting to create an organic garden, no longer do you need to be concerned about what is in the mulch, fertilizers or sprays that you are using on your garden.
6. Compost as a organic pesticide
Compost tea is great for disease and pest control in your garden – compost tea is the water extract of compost, which can be brewed in various different ways and is most recently being used as a disease inhibitor in your garden. Most people are trying to move away from conventional pesticides and this is a great natural alternative.
7. Composting creates biodiversity
From birds to bacteria to insects and worms, compost is rich in the nutrients needed for mother nature’s creatures. When there are more life forms in the soil, plants grow healthier and happier. Watch as your garden transforms itself into a living organism complete with worms and little creatures all helping the process.
8. Composting is convenient
No need to bag your leaves and other garden waste and take them to the tip. Add them to your composter and watch them turn into compost.
9. Every bit helps...
We generate 21.5 million tons of food waste each year. If we composted that food, it would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars off the road.
10. It's Fun!
Ok, maybe rewarding is a better word. When you compost you are more aware of garbage and waste in general. Doing your bit to minimise waste and to watch as you turn your "trash into treasure" is incredibly satisfying and rewarding!
What is Compost?
You can now see that there are so many benefits to composting, not only for you but also for the environment! But if you are a little unsure as to what compost is and how it works, we have explained further for you below...
In it’s simplest form, compost is produced by the natural decomposition of organic waste which can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months depending on the size and mix. Composting is a natural process that turns organic matter into a dark, rich substance as organisms begin to decompose the organic material. Organic matter includes but is definitely not limited to garden waste, kitchen scraps, leaves, grass clippings, paper, cardboard and straw.
Compost and organic matter are a valuable soil addition as it can improve soil structure, aids in necessary microbial activity within the soil, attracts good bugs such as earthworms and can suppress several soil born diseases. An important thing to remember is that you can never add too much compost into your soil. By putting in smaller pieces and turning regularly this should speed up the process, and adding a layer of carbon-rich material like leaves, straw or soaked cardboard will help to balance the nitrogen rich food scraps and prevent smells. Good compost is the colour of dark chocolate and should smell earthy.
Why use a composter?
Composting, described as natures way of recycling is the biological process of breaking up organic waste into an extremely useful end product. Although this process is completely natural, a rotating compost bin is a very efficient way of making this happen as it allows you to control the four factors that affect the speed of decay;
- Air Flow
- Good mix of Ingredients
Essentially, being able to manage these four factors enables the naturally slow process of decay, to be sped up.
Air circulation is a key factor. Keeping your compost well mixed and aerated prevents those anaerobic bacteria from establishing and making your compost stinky!
Temperature also plays a very important part in the breakdown of your compost. Helpful microbes work best at higher temperatures so it’s important to keep their workplace warm. The fastest break down will occur between 50 – 70 degrees Celsius. If you live in a very hot area (somewhere like Alice Springs) you may need to place your composter in a shady area so that decomposition does not happen too quickly.
Moisture can be tricky. Stagnant water can suffocate good bacteria, it also attracts pests and bugs. You will need to ensure adequate drainage and avoid adding in liquids to your composter as it can be difficult to get the right consistency. The general rule of thumb is that your compost mix should be as moist as a wrung out damp sponge.
Your ingredients are vital. There needs to be a good balance between the “brown stuff” which is the carbon rich materials and the “green stuff” which are the nitrogen rich materials, too much of either one will produce a poor result. A good rule of thumb is ¾ “brown stuff’ such as leaves, straw, saw dust, shredded paper or wood pellets and ¼ “green stuff” such as vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings and kitchen scraps.
Brown and Green doesn’t refer to the colour of the stuff you are actually putting into your composter either! It’s referring to carbon rich or nitrogen rich materials.
Start composting today
Simply being conscious of our waste habits can make a real difference to the environment and the future. By swapping our wasteful habits for a more sustainable approach we can all play a part in bringing about considerable changes in environmental benefits.
By starting your composting journey today what can seem like an inconvenience will soon become second nature and you won’t even need to think about it! It’s easy, rewarding and satisfying knowing that you are not only helping your garden flourish but you are also contributing to the bigger picture. Start saving your scraps today!
Vitality 4 Life distribute what we regard to be the finest composter range in the world. The brand Joraform are highly regarded as the "Rolls Royce" of composters, consisting of separated internal chambers and high quality steel structure. Joraform have both domestic home composters and also commercial composters for industrial use.