Backyard composting is easy to do. Just follow the 7 easy steps and reap the rewards in your garden.
Benefits of Composting
- It reduces waste. Traditionally, 52% of the waste in a landfill is household organic matter. By composting these materials in your backyard you'll be reducing the amount of waste you send to the landfill.
- It reduces greenhouse gas air emissions. When organics are placed in plastic bags they have little oxygen exposure. These conditions allow for high volumes of methane to be produced. Methane is a greenhouse gas which is 23 times stronger than the carbon dioxide released from our vehicles.
- It saves energy and money. There is less material needing to be picked up, processed and disposed of.
- It produces a useful product. Organics are broken down into a useful compost material, instead of sitting in bags in the landfill.
- Using compost improves soil quality. Compost improves the water-holding capacity of soil which means you have to water less frequently.
- It produces a natural fertilizer. No need to spend money buying chemical fertilizers.
Troubleshooting your Composter
The following tips will help you turn your organics into rich compost.
|Problem: Odours in the bin.
Cause: Compost is too moist. Not enough air is getting to it.
Solution: Turn the pile to give it air. Add coarse browns such as straw.
|Problem: Compost smells like ammonia.
Cause: There are too many greens in the pile.
Solution: Add brown material (dry leaves or dry grass clippings) and turn the pile.
|Problem: The compost pile is not dry and not heating up.
Cause: Lack of water.
Solution: Check your moisture level and add water while turning the pile.
|Problem: The compost is damp and warm only in the middle.
Cause: There isn’t enough material in the bin.
Solution: Collect more material and mix the new with the old.
|Problem: The pile is damp and sweet smelling, but is not heating up.
Cause: Lack of nitrogen (greens).
Solution: Mix in greens such as fresh grass clippings or more kitchen waste.
|Problem: The compost is forming very slowly.
Cause: The pieces of organics may be too big, the centre may be dried out, or too much air is passing through.
Solution: Cut waste materials into smaller pieces; mix in a bit of topsoil with the materials.
|Problem: The bin is attracting flies.
Cause: Food scraps aren’t covered and/or there is not enough brown material.
Solution: Cover the food scraps with soil, or keep your kitchen container in the fridge or freezer.
|Problem: The compost bin is attracting pests (dogs, magpies, wasps, ants, rodents).
Cause: You may have added improper material to the bin, or not covered it properly.
Solution: Make sure the kitchen scraps you are addding are covered with soil or buried in the bin. Don't add meat, dairy or fats to your compost bin. Use a rodent-resitant compost bin.