Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and also a way of creating nutritious material that is ideal for your garden and lawn.
A good layered compost will have a combination of both green waste products and brown waste products.
Green Waste (nitrogen) – These include fresh plant waste, grass, vege scraps, and coffee grounds – items generally high in nitrogen.
Brown Waste (carbon) – These include dried or aged plant material such as dead leaves, newspaper, straw, wood shavings and cardboard. These items add carbon to your compost.
A good combination of both is ideal, with a higher amount of brown material to ensure your pile doesn’t get too wet and smelly. On the flipside, if it’s too dry, then more green waste is required.
Banana peels, vege scraps and spoiled food waste from the kitchen are your usual suspects that go into the household compost bin, but there are some items you may not realise can also go in.
Pet hair, human hair from a hairbrush, it can all go in! Hair contains nitrogen which helps the decomposition process. Spread the hair throughout the green items in your compost to help it break down quicker.
Geez, I hope there aren’t any half empty beer bottles going to waste, but if there are, don’t just pour them down the drain! Beer can be added to your compost pile as well. Beer will help speed up the composting process, as it’s biodegradable. In addition, the yeast in the beer will feed microbes within the soil.
Believe it or not, tea bags increase the speed at which your compost decomposes. But make sure your tea bags are compostable as some contain polypropylene and won’t decompose properly. The organic matter from the tea leaves provides moisture which promotes earthworms.
When tilled into the soil, ground eggshells provide your plants with calcium. Though nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are most vital for healthy growth, calcium is also essential for building healthy “bones”— the cell walls of a plant. It’s important the eggshells are finely ground as they won’t decompose well otherwise.
Green waste breaking down can create an acidic environment. Wood ash from your fireplace is more alkaline. This means that ashes from your fireplace can provide a neutralising effect on your compost pile. Ashes also provide nutrients in the form of lime and potassium, which can improve soil health.
Compost for top dressing a lawn
When your compost is broken down and is mostly soil-like in appearance, without much of an unpleasant odour, it will be ready for use.
A good aged compost material for top dressing your lawn will provide organic nutrients and moisture to your lawn. It will provide your lawn some of the key ingredients it needs to stay healthy and creating a beneficial soil environment for microbial activity. Compost for top dressing will also improve the ability for your soil to hold moisture, which is really important for drought proofing your lawn.