Composting – getting results

Resident using a compost binOnce your bin is set up, it will do most of the hard work for you. It’s not quite time to put your feet up though! Following a few simple guidlines will ensure that you get the most from your bin and avoid potential problems.

Keeping the right balance

We mentioned ‘greens and browns’ in the previous post, it’s important that you keep a 50/50 balance between the two. Too many greens and your compost will be soggy, too many browns and it will be too dry.

Creepy crawlies

You might not like them, but insects are busy working away with their friends the microorganisms to turn your waste into a beautiful soil improver. However if you are experiencing problems with fruit flies, you can try leaving the lid off for a few hours, the sunlight will discourage them. If your bin is full of ants, it might be a bit too dry.

It’s a bit smelly!

Your bin shouldn’t smell, so if it does try mixing it to aerate the pile. Adding scrunched up paper and cardboard to your bin as you fill it will allow pockets of air to form throughout your pile.  Also, make sure you’re not adding meat, dairy products or animal waste. All of these will increase odour and may encourage pests.

Harvesting

It’s time to reap your rewards! Open the hatch or lift the bin slightly and scoop out the fresh compost with a garden fork. The compost might be a little lumpy, you can sift out any larger materials if you want or just mix it in with existing soil in your borders and pots. The compost will be full of nutrients and will include everything your plants need including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. However, the finished product will be very strong, so be sure to leave a gap around delicate plant stems.

If you haven’t already started composting, have a look at our getting started post.

Happy composting!

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