Lately I’ve been slack and have not been composting at home. Not because of the lack of material to compost, but due to the lack of a composting vessel.
After cleaning out my shed I found a 65 litre black polly garbage bin (trash can), which had a crack in the bottom. Instead of throwing it out I cut the bottom out (and the crack) and tipped it upside down in the vegetable garden, which is looking very sad but that’s another story.
To kick start my bin, I took a 2o litre bucket, half filled it with water and mixed in:
- A handful of blood and bone
- A handful of dolomite
- A sachet of bakers yeast
I then filled the bucket up with old horse manure, that was bagged in the shed, and some old lawn clippings at a ratio of 50:50. I left this soak for a couple of hours to let the material get nice and wet.
While you wait, clear the area where the bin is to go from any weed matter, then place the bin upside down over the clear area. Pour in some lawn clippings and some left over horse manure and any kitchen scraps except for Onion peel and any citrus. Fill the bin about 1/4 full. Mix these together to get a lot of air through it all.
Onion and citrus will compost, but it takes a long time.
When the mix in the bucket has soaked, pour a little over the ingredients in the bin, and mix by hand or with a garden fork. add some more lawn clippings and repeat until the bin is 3/4 full.
Make sure all the material is moist, add the lid with a brick on top to stop it falling off, and wait a few days.
Come back and check the mix. It should have a nice mouldy smell (if a mouldy smell can be nice!). Mix the material with the garden fork (or your hands if your keen). The compost should be nice and warm, this is because the bacteria and fungi that are eating the organic matter are breathing the oxygen that you put in when you mixed it.
You should stir the compost every couple of days, otherwise the compost may take up a rancid rotten smell. A rotten smell is caused by a lack of oxygen, which breeds a different type of fungi and bacteria that thrive without oxygen. It will still compost, but will take a number of months longer and smell awful.
Give the compost at least four weeks of mixing, after that time the heat should have subsided, and the compost should be a nice dark brown colour and smell like sweet soil. Now it’s time to use on your favorite plants!