Landscaping tips: How to make your own compost

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Landscaping tips: How to make your own compost

If you have an extensive property, or if you are finding that keeping your garden beds well fed and flourishing is becoming expensive, try making your own compost instead. Compost feeds the soil, and a rich, well-balanced soil can produce better plants. Here are some ways create food for your plants without much financial input as well as keeping it organic!

Grow more, spend less

The whole point to an investment property or having business premises is to make money. We know that good landscaping and proper presentation of your property can increase its value by up to 15%, but you want to maximise the potential in that by ensuring that your running costs are minimised. One way to do that is to make your own compost. In fact, making your own natural compost can also help to cut down on the need to use chemical pesticides and herbicides, as a more balanced ecosystem will provide a better level of natural pest control.

Food waste

Food that is disposed of into trash cans makes up a large portion of waste that is taken to landfill sites, and landfill sites are not the most environmentally friendly places, harming local animals, plants and disrupting the entire natural ecosystem that would otherwise exist there. Kitchen scraps make a great addition to your compost, they provide nutrients to the soil and encourage the growth of good bacteria that will benefit the plant and animal species. Kitchen scraps can be gathered into a large bowl or a tub with a lid on it. Line the tub with newspaper, which biodegrades quite well. At the end of the day, the food scraps can be picked up in the newspaper and taken outside.

Food scraps to include in your composting include any raw foods, like apple peels, potato peels and seeds are great too. Cooked food can be used, but because the microorganisms are essentially dead, cooked food holds less benefit to the soil than raw food.

While the use of human waste is not advised, animal manure is helpful to the decomposition process, also feeding the microorganisms. Manure is rich in nitrogen which helps with soil fertility. Horse manure and chicken manure are fantastic additions if you have a supply.

It is important to ensure that your compost is made up of a balance of brown matter and green matter. The brown matter is carbon rich, like hay, straw, sawdust and ash. Green matter like grass cuttings, leaves and garden waste is generally higher in nitrogen. A balance between carbon and nitrogen rich materials will give you a balanced compost. It is not necessary to weigh or measure them, but a visual estimation of 50/50 should be just fine.

 

Making compost

Start with a layer of straw or hay, and try to think of your compost heap as being a sandwich you keep adding layers too. Add a layer of manure, a layer of kitchen waste, green garden material, and top it off with a layer of hay, straw or sawdust. Then you can start again by adding a layer of manure followed by a layer of green waste and kitchen scraps and topped with a layer of brown waste again. You can create a round or square wire frame to prevent the growing tower from tipping over, or you can dig a deep hole and fill each layer in from under the ground. Keep the heap moist by watering it from time to time.

This is a slow decomposition process, and your compost will be ready when it looks like dark brown, almost black soil. It can then be incorporated into garden beds. Even bulbs which cannot take freshly fertilised soil or raw manure will enjoy this compost, which is in the correct form to feed and nourish plants. Raw manure should never be used in garden beds that have plants in them, or garden beds that will be planted in soon.

Happy soil, happy garden

A beautiful garden is an important part of increasing the value of your property, as well as making your property better enjoyed by those who make use of it. A garden need not be an expensive, labour intensive project that adds chores to your list of property management duties. Ask a landscaper to do the hard work at a low monthly cost while you grow the value of your property. Contact FSG for a quote.

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