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Compost, an easy way to help the environment.

Compost, a rewarding way to get rid of unwanted material.

 

With winter well at hand your garden may look dull or covered in all the different colour leaves. A good idea would be to get your very own compost bin ready. There are many different varieties of compost bins available but going more natural makes it just so much more rewarding. Using waste from your kitchen like egg shells and vegetable skins is truly a rewarding way to create compost which can be used all over your garden.

 

Compost is the single most important supplement you can add to your garden. It is a simple and sure way to add nutrients in order to assist your plants growth and helps to restore vitality to depleted soil. It is free, easy to make and truly good for the environment and also save you money.

 

 

Compost bins need four components in order to decompose well, carbon, nitrogen, moisture, and air. Carbon is found in leaves, wood chips, recycled paper, and cardboard. Nitrogen is supplied to the compost in the form of green plant tissue. This is gained from grass clippings, vegetable kitchen scraps, coffee grounds or finished manure from vegetarian animals, i.e., chickens. Earthworms, fungi and bacteria need moisture to live. Thus, sprinkling water on each layer will assist the compost to work the way it is intended to do. On the downside, swampy conditions drive the air out, so make sure not to drench it with water. A sealed compost bin makes its own moisture and by turning it regularly you add oxygen back into the compost heap.

 

So, if you have started your own compost bin how do you get hold of all the necessary insects that help to decompose the material?

Every time you add some material into the bin just add some finished compost or even garden soil on top. This will introduce the critters needed.

 

Heat Compost Bin.

 

Dried wood like old pallets is a great material to start your own compost bin with and is not too expensive. It is also natural and does not add any unwelcome chemicals. We used saligna wood to make the above compost bin and layered it with bricks underneath. This will assist in turning the soil of the compost bin easily as well as make it easy to scoop out when the compost has matured. To allow the correct bacteria into the bin we then layered the bricks with wet cardboard. This way we also added moisture to the bottom. The next layer would then be dried leaves and grass cuttings. This adds nitrogen to the compost heap and creates oxygen at the bottom. From here you can add your different manures and vegetable scraps.

Watch out for an updated post in the next few months to come.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The Australian Brush Turkey makes compost to incubate its eggs. It would check the temperature with its beak and add or remove material in order to get the ideal heat.
  • You can compost with cockroaches. Cockroaches are actually clean, hungry and able to produce compost without any smell.
  • You can cook in compost. I am not sure that I want to try this but follow the link to see the results: https://youtu.be/nRalxMA1U2g
  • A combination of beer, coke and ammonia help to produce finished compost within just 14 days. This process is called “Drunk Composting”. Follow the link and see the results: https://youtu.be/FDPabkUUT-o
  • Urine is a great component for composting as it is high in nitrogen. Composting research have shown that compost with urine in have performed better than those without. Guess it is a good enough reason to relieve yourself outside.

 

The compost bin we have ready, picture above, will create much needed heat within the bin which will assist the compost to decompose even better. The temperature inside the bin can easily reach up to 60°C, which helps to kill unwanted seeds from weeds. Thus with a heated bin you can also save on garden waste by adding weeds into your bin. There are some weeds that are actually beneficial to your garden.

 

Best weeds for your garden.

 

  • Bashful mimosa is used as ground cover for tomatoes and peppers. This does however attract predatory beetles.
  • Caper spurge helps to repel moles.
  • Nettle is used as a companion plant for broccoli, tomatoes mint and fennel. It can also be used to make herbal tea.
  • Crow garlic is a great companion plant for fruit trees, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, cabbages, broccoli, and carrots. It also helps to repel aphids, slugs, carrot fly and even cabbage worm. This is a wild cousin of onions and can be used like conventional chives.
  • Wild mustard is a companion plant for grapevines, radish, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. This helps to attract ladybugs which is beneficial to any garden.

  • Wild rose is a companion plant for strawberries, grapes, and roses. It also helps to repel rodents and traps Japanese beetles.
  • Borage is a companion plant for tomatoes and legumes. Its flowers attract predatory wasps as the crunchy leaves and flowers are good to add into salads.
  • Dandelion is a great companion plant for any garden plant. Its flowers attract pollinators as all parts of the dandelion are edible in season. It is widely used in traditional herbal medicine.
  • Clover is a companion plant for cabbage and broccoli. Its flowers attract pollinators as the leaves can be eaten.

So, think before you add the abovementioned weeds into your compost. It would be a great idea to just replant them elsewhere in order to benefit your garden. And if you are in need of a natural heat compost bin feel free to send us a mail to info@justberryplants.co.za

 

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