Treat soil with self-made compost

COMPOST heaps are an easy way to make your own compost to meet your gardening needs. These heaps or piles are placed on top of the soil and used for composting plant materials, cow or horse manure, kitchen scraps and other organic material.

What is organic material?

Organic material refers to carbon-based materials derived from living things. This includes composting leaves, grass clippings, sawdust or wood chips and dung from animals.

How to make a compost heap or pile Create a pile of organic materials on top of the soil, preferably in an area that receives full sun. Layer this pile with both wet and dry organic material.

Wet organic material includes fresh grass clippings, fresh manure, bits of fruits and veggies and any other plant materials that have a high water content. Dry materials include dried leaves, hay, twigs and plant materials that have dried.

Begin with a 15cm to 25cm layer of a mixture of wet and dry material, sometimes referred to as green and brown material. Use approximately one part wet material to two parts dry materials.

Top with a 5cm to 7cm layer of fresh manure from a grain feeding animal. If you do not have fresh manure, sprinkle one cup of balanced fertiliser, such as 10-10-10 over the heap.

Cover with 2cm to 5cm garden soil.

Repeat the layers to create a pile approximately 90cm x 90cm and 90cm high.

Water the compost heap to moisten it and turn it with a garden fork or spade once a month.

The process of composting

As the organic matter begins to decompose, the compost heap heats up. Microbes in the soil work to further break down the plant material in the compost heap. Turning the heap provides aeration needed for the process.

Once decomposed thoroughly compost looks and smells like fresh soil.

What can you compost?

You can compost kitchen scraps, plant material and animal manures.

Coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells, plant clippings and shredded newspapers can be used in compost. ©

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