Sunday, June 27, 2010

Compost update

It's been almost a week since I started a compost heap in one corner of our little garden. The last few days, I've been watering it (yes, you have to keep it moist enough for it to decompost) as well as feeding it more 'food' ie. vegetable peelings, fruit skins, dried leaves....

Today, I took out the wire and removed all the scrap to 'turn' the compost. This is supposed to introduce more oxygen to help with the composting process. There are some articles that suggest that turning a compost may not be necessary like this one.

While I was turning the compost, I noticed a few things. The leaves of the ginger plant as well as other plants with the same type of leave texture as shown in the picture seems to decompose slower. They probably need to be chopped into smaller sizes to speed up the process. Branches should also be only a few inches long. The orange peel were still very intact but to be fair, they were only added a few days ago. Anyway, as a general rule, the smaller the items, the faster they decompose.

Contrary to common initial perception, the compost was kind of sweet- instead of foul-smelling even though some of the items were rotting away.

After giving the compost a good mix, I then re-wire up the mesh and place the compost back in while giving it another round of watering.

Many would think that it's complex to set up a compost but if I can do it, you can too as it is fairly easy. Mine is simply made up of wire mesh secured into a loop and covered with a pot dish which acts also as a weight to keep the compost material down. As mentioned in my previous post, there are tonnes of articles and videos online to help you get started. Here are some:

For a video guide on how to make a compost bin, try this video.

For a video guide on how to compost, try Garden Organic's two-part video. They are a little lengthy but detailed and presented clearly.
Part 1
Where to put your compost bin - What can and can't be composted - Filling the bin - Compost activators - Getting the mixture right - Hot and cool composting
Part 2
When is the compost ready - Using your compost

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