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Start Your Own Compost Heap

Why you need to compost and how to start | Waste-free Living with HarassedMom

Do you compost? Once you have a system going it really is such a simple process and a great way to reduce the waste that goes to landfill.

There are so many benefits to starting a compost heap. 

  1. Adds nutrients to the soil. We have noticed such a huge improvement in the quality of our soil since we have started composting. It took a while but it was so worth it. .
  2. Introduces valuable organisms to the soil. Microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, decompose organic material. The presence of microorganisms is vital because they aerate the soil, which speeds up the composting process, convert nitrogen to a usable form, and repel some plant diseases.
  3. Recycles kitchen waste. Composting can keep as much as 30% of waste from going to the rubbish bin. This means your home is producing less waste.
  4. Reduces landfill waste. Many people think that organic material will just decompose in a landfill. This is true, but the process is a lot slower and in some cases doesn’t actually happen. 
  5. Good for the environment! When you use your own compost as fertilizer you are not putting chemicals into your soil.

Just before we started our vegetable garden, we started a compost heap using our kitchen waste. I believe it is why our vegetables are now growing so well. You don’t need a lot of space to start composting. Initially, we started in a box and we could have kept it there if we didn’t make a bigger space for it.

Composting is not only good for your garden but it helps to reduce your waste! The following items can all go in your compost.

  • Vegetable peels/leftovers
  • Fruit peels/cores
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Egg cartons
  • Newspaper
  • Egg shells

Avoid putting meat and poultry into your compost heap. If you have worms, avoid putting onions and citrus fruits in with them.

Start your own compost heap | HarassedMom

Starting the heap is as simple as starting to collect all your kitchen waste. We have a bucket in the kitchen that gets cleared out every second day. Put it somewhere convenient so that everyone can easily pop stuff in when they need to.

We started ours in a medium-sized black Big Jim box but you can use the container. If you have space in your garden you can start on the grass.

If you are using a container.

Collect some fallen leaves, grass cuttings, newspaper and place them at the bottom of the container. Once you have the bottom covered you can start to add your kitchen waste. Keep it covered and every few days mix it all around so that everything can mix together nicely.

If you are using a piece of your garden.

You can start it in the same way or you can dig a hole and start building it from there. Remember to try to mix it around to get the good compost at the bottom to the top.

Worms and other bugs will start to appear as the compost heap grows. You may also notice thick white worms. These are great for the compost heap but not great for your garden. Avoid adding them to your garden when you transfer the compost, they turn into bugs that eat your plants.

Helping the process

We added a compost activator to our container. This just helps the waste to decompose quicker and turn into rich, healthy compost. You don’t need to do this but it does help to speed things along.

You can also get a Bokashi kit to start your compost heap.

“Bokashi is a Japanese word that means “fermented organic matter.” Whether it does or not, that’s what it has come to mean in North America and Britain. The Bokashi host medium can indeed be almost any fine organic grain or grass-like substance — bran, rice, wheat mill run (WMR, a waste product from flour milling), used mushroom growth medium, dried leaves, even sawdust.” Source

You can buy Bokashi kits which include the Bokashi and a bucket/container to start it in. Or you can buy the Bokashi on its own. Apparently it does also help with the smell of a compost heap but I have not tried this out so I can’t really comment on how exactly it all works. You can get Bokashi starter kits at Builders Warehouse, if you do want to try them out.

It does take some time to get into the process of collecting the waste and building the compost heap but once you have it going it is super easy.

Have you started composting?

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post but I was given a voucher from Builders Warehouse to start our garden. You can see more about this campaign using #LetsGardenSA

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8 Responses

  1. Thanks for these great tips! Time to look into starting my own compost heap now. Just a question about the worms – will they appear in the tub that I keep in the kitchen? And how do I keep the white worms out of the garden? What do I do with them? Megan xx

  2. I’ve been composting for years! It’s so good for the garden and a great way to reduce waste. Thanks for sharing this great info on what you can break down!

  3. This is extremely helpful! I’ve been trying to be more eco-friendly and wanted to start composting but I have never done it before or seen anyone do it so I was a bit nervous to start.

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