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Sustainable Living Solutions: DIY Home Composting

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Sustainable Living Solutions: DIY Home Composting

Here at BookingYoga.com, we care about the environment and we want to share some tips on how we can all help care for mother nature by taking a few small steps to reuse waste through home composting. So, lets ‘go green’ with these sustainable living solutions which will help you to improve the quality of your garden soil by creating a DIY home compost system. And if you are really motivated; you could even start home-growing fruit and vegetables, helping to boost your holiday savings so you can finally book your dream retreat or yoga teacher training.

FACT: Did you know that landfill generated from organic waste is actually bad for the environment? and about half of our household waste is green organic matter?

Organic waste such as food scraps and green waste is generally compacted and covered; which removes the oxygen and causes it to breakdown in a manner that releases methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission 21 times more potent that carbon dioxide. We all know the impacts of carbon dioxide on our environment, hard to believe that organic waste can have even worse impact on our environment, isn’t it? The worse impacts can be seen in the effects of global warming and climate change.

So,lets take a walk to your kitchen. In your pantry maybe you may have some tea, onions, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, eggs….?? Open your bin, whats inside? egg shells, vegetable scraps, food that has turned foul and cant be eaten ?! Did you know that is all perfect nourishment for your backyard by way of ‘Home Composting’. Composting your own organic waste at home will help reduce environmental impacts and potentially enjoy your own home grown vegetables.

The cycle of life is an interesting one indeed, even for our home grown veggies. Theres nothing better than plump juicy vine ripened tomatos picked from your backyard, or fresh herbs and veggies harvested from your very own vegetable patch. Did you know the waste from our food scraps can be used to boost the nutrition of your soil and also reduce the amount of waste your generate from your home?

So, to help our environment and save your household money; you can grow your own herbs, fruit and vegetables and reuse the waste to help improve the quality of your soil and aid your organic produce, straight from your backyard.

DIY Home Composting Made Easy

We have developed four easy steps to guide you on how to build and maintain a D.I.Y Home Compost system.

Step 1. Choose a site

Place your compost heap or bin in a well-drained area that has some shade. Too much sun will dry out your compost.

Step 2. ABC’s of what material you are able to compost

A) Green Ingredients: Compost needs a mixture of nitrogen rich organic materials such as fruit and vegetable peelings, and green garden vegetation such as fresh grass clippings and green leaves.
B) Brown Ingredients: Nitrogen-poor, carbon rich materials such as dry leaves, woody twigs, paper and straw.
C) Water
D) Some soil or completed compost to introduce composting micro-organisms

Step 3. ABC’s of creating your compost (Layering)

Start your compost heap (or bin) with a thick layer of coarse material (about 15cm deep). Some good examples of coarse material appropriate for the bottom layer are twigs or mulch material (bark clippings etc), this is used for drainage. Then follow with a layered A,B,C system using the materials mentioned above. So, your first layer is layer A – Garden clippings and kitchen scraps; then B – Dry leaves and paper (wet); followed by C – Add water after each layer to keep the heap moist but not wet. Then repeat steps ABC. Finish with step D. Sprinkling soil (or finished compost) on top of food scraps, this will make a richer compost and help reduce odours.

Step 4. Maintaining Your Compost

• Keep your compost well aerated to prevent foul odours or methane (the bad stuff that harms our environment through natural gas production).
• Turn your compost with a garden fork on a weeky basis. Otherwise place garden stakes or pipes through the heap to allow air in.
• Depending on the mix of ingredients the duration for the compost to turn into a rich soil can be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months.

Greenthumb tips and tricks

•Cover your heap so that it is just moist, not wet. If it is wet or saturated mix more dry brown material through it and turn.
•If you don’t like idea of a big brown mess in your yard or are worried about vermin (which a good compost system, should not attract) you can use a ‘compost bin’ to contain your compost in one location. Compost bins can be purchased from hardwares or, in some regions, can be obtained through local Councils or waste management facilities.
•Here is a list of the type of material you can and cannot use in your compost bin:

Troubleshooting

•Bad Odour

Problem: If your compost is too wet or if there is not enough air in the heap, your compost can smell. A common cause is having too much food and not enough dry ingredients in your compost.

Solution:
• Fork in dry leaves or garden mulch.
• Add garden lime, dolomite or woodfire ash to the heap to reduce acidity.
• Turn the compost to add air.
• Combine nitrogen-rich ingredients with sawdust or shredded newspaper before adding to the heap.
• Give your compost heap a ‘floor’ of planks to ensure good drainage.

•Pest/Vermin

Problem: Cockroaches, mice or rats can sometimes make your compost their home.

Solution:
• Always cover food with a layer of garden vegetation or soil – then cover heap with underfelt, hessian or polythene plastic sheet.
• Turn the compost to discourage habitation.
• Fine wire under the compost bin or heap helps keep out mice and rats.
• Avoid placing dairy products, meat and seafood in the compost.

•Compost slow to mature

Problem: A slow composting system can mean that the compost is not hot enough, or there may not be enough air or water.

Solution:
• Add nitrogen-rich material such as kitchen scraps or green garden vegetation.
• Turn the heap and add water.
• Cover the compost with insulating material in winter if it gets too cold.

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