News: Why you should be composting

1 May 2022

International Compost Awareness Week 2022 runs from 1– 7 May, a celebration of the benefits of composting which is not only good for the garden but good for the planet.

Composting is a natural process where micro-organisms, insects and earthworms decompose organic matter such as food scraps and garden waste into a type of soil material. Compost is a rich source of nutrients for your garden as it can improve soil quality, improve water retention and give you better plant growth. Composting also helps reduce the amount of rubbish you throw away, which saves you money on those yellow bags and can cut the amount of waste going into our landfills by about 35 per cent.

Methane is significantly reduced when recycling organic material rather than sending to landfill – it is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Worried about smells? A properly built compost heap will have a small amount of odour, but it should not be unpleasant. Strong and unpleasant odours usually result from an unbalanced compost heap, such as composting grass clippings on their own, adding too many food scraps or adding the wrong types of foods. Bad odours will also occur if the heap becomes too wet or has too little air.

To keep odours down, turn your compost heap each time you add material to enhance aeration and make sure not to over-water your heap.

Worried about pests? Adding food to a compost heap makes it more attractive to pests. In urban areas, the best way to avoid pests is to use an enclosed compost bin like those offered at home and garden stores.

It takes a while for compost to mature. Turning the compost will speed up the process and it should take around three to four months if the compost is regularly turned. If the compost is not turned, it should take up to nine months to a year for the compost to mature.

For more handy tips, go to our new “Why you should try composting” page.

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