My worm farm has been happily chewing through our fruit and veggie scraps for years now but just lately I have had a glut of scraps that I have been digging into our postage stamp size veggie garden. Now there just isn't any more room for me to keep doing that so it was high time to invest in a compost bin.
So, last Sunday, at about 9 am, I hopped online and googled Gumtree for a compost bin. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw a brand new looking, compost bin for the crazy cheap price of $5.00 and even better it wasn't too far away from our home. So, half an hour drive later we picked up, a new to us, compost bin, in the pouring rain. Not that we were worried by a bit of rain, we just got the bargain of the century.
I have been doing a lot of reading on how to set up an effective compost bin. I really wanted one that sat on soil rather than one of those tumbler compost bins, as I have read that all the beneficial bacteria and of course the earth worms will enter the compost bin and weave their magic when the compost bin sits on open soil. I have read about the ratio of 1 part green to 2 parts brown and I hope I have done it right. I haven't turned it over yet, I will let it sit for a week and the give it a good stir over next weekend.
So, from what I have gleaned this is what I should and should not be doing to achieve sensational compost
1. Layer with 1 part green to 2 parts brown and break down any large pieces
fruit and veggie scraps
fresh grass clippings
coffee grounds, tea leaves and tea bags
manure from cows, sheep or chicken
tissues and newspaper
dead leaves and branches
2.Water in-between each layer
3.Turn the compost regularly
meat or bones
fats or cooking oils
waste from domestic pets
weeds or diseased plants
garden waste that is contaminated with herbicides or pesticides
Don't let the compost become too wet or too dry
The compost will be ready when it resembles healthy soil and smells like earth. Wish me luck
To fit the compost bin in, I removed the spent chia, amaranth and one of the pumpkin vines. Unfortunately every time a pumpkin would start growing it would shrivel and fall off, this pumpkin vine came up by itself and looked healthy enough but as it wasn't producing pumpkins, out it came.
I have used lucerne and sugar cane mulch for the "brown" part as I didn't have enough brown stuff laying around the yard.
All I have left now in my little veggie garden is my lime tree, my one last healthy Red Paw Paw tree, a robust rosemary plant, a struggling strawberry runner that has come from somewhere (maybe next door), a pumpkin vine that I have re-trained down the left hand side of the garden and a newly acquired cutting of lemon grass from Morag at Our Permaculture Life, oh and of course the compost bin. I won't plant anything else for a while now, I will just concentrate on making the best compost I can.
I have read conflicting reports about using junk mail/catalogues in the compost bin, has any one used junk mail for the "brown" part of the ratio? Any suggestions for how I can "do it better" are more than welcomed.
Have a lovely day.