Time to Make Compost
I like to use my compost as my growing medium for my containers so it is very valuable to me.
What I do isn’t a very sophisticated practice by any means.
I usually start a new heap when I have mown the lawn and have some grass clippings as a base.
In our dry climate we don’t waste water irrigating our street side lawn so unfortunately it doesn’t produce much especially during the hot summer months.
Because our soil is just sand I usually end up with a lot of sand in the mower catcher sometimes I can barely lift it! When I stop to empty it the mower sort of rears up because the catcher is so heavy!
Our lawn level should be going down with all I have carted off it.
Anyway it makes a great base mix for the compost heap.
Recently we have been using water from the washing machine to water our wee inside lawn to try and keep it green (and make more grass for my compost). I used to save the water in a barrel and then bucket it out which was hard work and time consuming.
Recently we did renovations and my husband laid new tiles on the laundry floor so we had an outdoor laundry while he was doing it with the washing machine out on the patio (under cover) and we just let the water run on the lawn. It worked so well we have left it out there for the time being and besides with the new tub set up in the laundry I can’t save the water the way I used to.
I can fill buckets if I wish or just hold the extended hose from the washing machine and direct the water where I want it. Only thing I need to be around when the washing machine starts emptying sometimes I get side tracked and miss it but it still runs on the lawn anyway and waters a patch particularly well.
Before I mow the lawn I usually check around for spent plants, weeds or any other suitable compostable material first. I throw it on the lawn and roughly chop it with my shears then it gets chopped up relatively finely when I mow the lawn.
The finer the composting material is the quicker it will rot down and the sooner I can use it. I always want to use it sooner rather than later!
I also roughly chop my kitchen scraps for the same reason.
My husband has been making vegetable juice so we end up with more scraps…good for the compost! Using the bucket saves me emptying my smaller kitchen bucket in the compost so often and there is no odor as the lid seals really well.
I have some microbe solution spray which I spray on the scraps every time I add them. It is meant to aid fermentation and reduce odors and can be used as a compost accelerator. I’m not sure if it is still viable because it has been around for a while but I am using it up anyway! The bucket has a sort of grid near the bottom which allows juices to run thru and then it can be taken off via a tap in the bottom and used diluted as a plant food. At the moment we are filling the bucket so quickly it hasn’t had time to form any juice but I have had juice from it in the past.
This Maze Indoor Kitchen Composter is only available in Australia but the equivalent would probably be the
SCD Probiotics K100 All Seasons Indoor Composter Kit or the Chef’s Star listed on this page on Amazon.
I also add old compost from any containers that have finished and I’m not using again to my compost heap. This way it can be rejuvenated.
To actually make my compost I just make a heap on the ground down in the back corner of the yard.
I mix everything up with a fork. I usually make a hole in the center of the heap and bury my kitchen scraps in there mixing them in so it means they are all completely covered.
If I think the material is too dry I add water and mix it thru. It needs to be damp or else no composting will happen.
I cover my heap with plastic in order to keep it moist and then with a bit of shade cloth on top to stop the plastic disintegrating in the sun.
I keep adding to my heap for a while; mostly the kitchen scraps. I give it a bit of a mix up each time I add them. How long I leave my heap really depends on how much stuff I have available to start another heap and whether or not I have a supply on hand that is ready to use.
There are lots of different ways to make compost but this simple method works for me and my plants seem to like it. In my relatively warm climate things seem to rot down pretty quickly but in a cooler climate it would take longer.
Making your own compost reduces the cost of growing your own organic vegetables because all the materials are free, why not take advantage of them!