How Is Compost Made?

Every compost recipe needs the right mix of:

  • Organic matter
  • Dirt (soil)
  • Water
  • Warmth
  • Air

1. Organic Matter

You need to add approximately equal amounts of “greens” and “browns”:

Fresh organic materials:Dead organic matter
Kitchen scrapsStraw
Green leavesDry autumn leaves
Coffee groundsSawdust
Plant stemsWoodchips from
Tea bagsuntreated wood

2. Dirt (Soil)

Sprinkle a small amount of dirt through the mix. This gives your waste the bacteria it needs to turn it into compost. You can also use prepared compost or special compost activator.

3. Water

Add enough water so that your compost material is damp but not soggy.  If you use very dry ingredients, such as sawdust or newspaper, you may need to soaked them before you add them to the mix.  Too much water is bad – make sure your compost bin or pile is well drained, and cover it to stop it getting too wet in the rain.

4. Warmth

Cover your compost heap or bin during cold weather to insulate it from the cold and keep the bacteria warm and happy!

5. Air

You need to mix your compost around regularly, or at least make sure there are some slits or holes in the container for ventilation.  Composting will still work without air, but it is much slower and can get a bit smelly.

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