Everything you ever wanted to know about compost

Victorians send approximately 836,000 tonnes of food waste to landfill every year. That produces about as much climate change pollution as 50,000 cars!

By composting or starting a worm farm, you can turn your kitchen scraps and garden cuttings into nutrient-rich, free mulch which will keep your garden lush. You’re also helping to reduce climate change and sending less waste to landfill!

Here is TAKE2’s step-by-step guide to starting your own compost bin at home.

Step 1
Reduce your food waste as much as possible. Eat left overs, shop with a list and use every edible part of your food, rather than letting it go to waste. The food scraps still remaining can be composted.

Step 2
Choose a shady spot in the garden for your compost heap or bin. 

Step 3
Build your compost in layers of food scraps, garden clippings and paper.

Step 4
Keep your compost moist, but not wet and aerate it (that means mix it up) about once a week.

Step 5
When your compost is dark and crumbly (takes about four months) dig it into your garden or spread it on top as mulch.

What can I compost?

• Vegetable and fruit peelings
• Tea bags and coffee grounds
• Egg shells
• Vacuum cleaner dust
• Lots of shredded paper and cardboard to absorb excess moisture and stop the compost getting smelly
• sweepings from the yard and dry leaves – great in Autumn!
• straw from chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs
• Lawn clippings, small prunings, leaves and flowers
• a little blood and bone.  

What should I keep out of my compost heap?

• Diseased plant material
• Meat scraps and bones
• Dairy products
• Bread
• Cake
• Pet droppings.
 
Don’t have room for a compost bin?

Then try a worm farm. As well as compost, they produce ‘worm juice’ which is great for your plants.

Extra tips to remember

• Smaller pieces of material in your compost bin or worm farm break down faster.
• If you’re doing it properly, it won’t smell bad. Turning the compost lets air into the mix, creates heat, and encourages microorganisms that feed on the waste. Turning your heap also makes compost faster and reduces any smells.
• Don’t add too much citrus skin, make sure it’s finely chopped and mixed in well. Using too much makes a stinky mess and the worms don’t like it!
• Have a second bin if space allows. That way you can keep composting after one bin fills but the compost is still breaking down.   
• Worms slow down in winter so you’ll need to reduce the food supply or get more worms!

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