May is the month for compost

Compost bin with vegetable scraps

Although International Composting Awareness Week was first celebrated in Canada in 1995, May’s surely a much more seasonally appropriate month here in the Southern Hemisphere where we’re in the depths of autumn. This is the season when the leaves that fall from deciduous trees and the luxuriant garden growth provide an abundance of material for composting.

What to compost

The sweetest smelling compost is made of a good mixture of different types of components. The first group – called ‘greens’ or ‘wets’- is high in nitrogen and includes green grass clippings, weeds (remove seed heads), manure and vegetable scraps.

The other group – the ‘browns’ or ‘dries’ – is high in carbon. Included in this group are sawdust, shredded newspaper, fallen leaves (especially leaves from deciduous trees), dried grass and straw.

As well as the ingredients mentioned you can add such things as wood ash, chopped-up prunings, vacuum cleaner waste, coffee grounds, tea leaves, eggshells and cooking oil. Just remember the golden rule: never too much of any one thing.

What not to compost

Avoid using meat (because of the vermin it will attract), plastic (watch out for Lego blocks in the vacuum cleaner waste!), weeds with seedheads or pieces that may survive composting, diseased plants, and plants that have been treated with herbicide or a pesticide.

Other composting tips


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