How to create an efficient compost ?

P1110690The public gardens in Swasti Eco Cottages provides  every day there  plenty of organic matter for good compost, with fresh green clippings providing nitrogen and dry matter providing carbon. Onsite sheep and rabbits provided manure which can be composted to increase soil nutrients and also fresh when making bio fertilizers which I’ll get to later.

We had an old system of composting, but with no good results at all! One thing that was obvious with the existing three compartment compost was that it was anaerobic, not layered appropriately to receive the correct amounts of nutrients and not  being turned often enough to encourage decomposition and reduce pests.

P1110687A simple fix is creating a compost ‘bin’ from mesh which allows ventilation and can easily be taken apart to be moved when turning. You simply layer carbon (brown; straw, dry leaves, wood chips) in three parts to two parts nitrogen (green; grass clippings, fresh leaves/cuttings, fruit peels) and one part composted manure. Layer like lasagne until you have a pile that’s at least 1x1m. This size allows enough heat to be created to decompose and kill off any baddies (50-65 degrees Celsius). Wet the pile ( non-chlorinated water) until water runs out the bottom and then turn every two weeks for 2-3 months.

P1110677 P1110688Hopefully by that time you’ll have compost that holds together when you squash it in your hands and has a consistency similar to dry cake batter, delicious! (It does help to cover lightly with a tarp to avoid excess moisture but also to prevent it drying out).

Written by Sarah Burns