Curious about composting? Expert veg grower and compost queen Jilly Dougan tells us why it’s a great way to use your food waste instead of letting it pile up at a landfill site.
So, what exactly is composting?
"Composting involves collecting organic materials, such as kitchen and garden waste, and transforming them into a nutrient-rich food for plants,” says Jilly. “Bacteria in the compost heap transform scraps into a soil-like substance that can be used to help plants grow in your garden.”
And why is it good for our environment?
Where should I place my compost heap?
“Make a pile of compostable material in an unused area of the garden," says Jilly. "Construct a surround out of recycled pallets or use a large plastic compost bin with an open bottom so worms can get into it."
What can I toss in my compost pile?
"All compost piles need brown material, green material and water," says Jilly. "Aim for more ‘browns’ than ‘greens’ to get the balance right."
??Brown (dry or woody) material is carbon-rich and includes paper, cardboard, eggshells, sawdust, fallen leaves and winter hedge prunings.
??Green (wet or recently growing) material is nitrogen-rich and includes grass clippings, peelings, teabags, coffee grounds and flowers.
?If your compost is dry, add water. If it's too wet, add cardboard.
How should I tend to it over time?
“Layer it up, turn it regularly to let air in and let nature do the rest," says Jilly. "Aim to have more than one heap so when one is full and breaking down you can start on a new one. It takes six months to a year to make good compost. When compost is ready, it looks and smells like dark soil.”
What if I lack space and want to compost indoors?
Simply get yourself a food caddy that'll hold all your scraps and hardly take up any room on your counter. Once full, empty into your food bin and leave out for the council to collect. They’ll turn it into compost to nurture the flowers in your local park. Learn more about it here.