Compost : How to make It

How to make compost

A well-made compost heap turns waste material into rich garden humus in a few months. Build the heap in layers, alternating 20-30 cm thicknesses of waste with 3 cm layers of soil . Include green plants, grass cuttings, old leaves, eggshells and shredded newspaper (not more than 10 per cent of the latter). Don’t compost wood, diseased plants, mealie cobs, cheese, milk, meat or grease. Press down- each layer. For fast results, sprinkle on a little NPK 2.3.2. fertilizer and, on alternate layers, a light dusting of lime. Water each layer and subsequently keep the heap damp.

Compost can be heaped unsupported, but a bin is neater – and because air must reach the compost, the bin cannot be solid. The easiest kind to make is a wire-mesh pen 1 m or more in diameter. Form a cylinder from a length of mesh 1-1, 5 m wide and secure it by hooking the cut wire ends around the mesh.

For a more sightly bin, make 4 slatted wood frames about 1 m high, using treated timber. Nail 3 of them together, and complete the rectangle with 2 stretchers. Hinge the fourth side or attach it with hooks and eyes to make it removable.

Compost Bin

Compost Bin

Dig a shallow pit for the bin and put a layer of straw or loose brush in the bottom. Then add waste, layer by layer. Periodically rebuild the heap, moving outside matter towards the center. The compost is ready when it is dark brown, crumbly and nearly odorless.

Author: Johan Bosman

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