Recipe for a healthy compost
The six components your compost needs to be at the top of its game.
Your bin needs to have ventilation. Gaps in the sides will allow for airflow; oxygen is essential for decomposition. Turning your compost will also keep it aerated.
Keep a lid on your compost bin, especially in the cooler months when there’s more rainfall, to stop it getting oversaturated. In the warmer months you may need to water it occasionally to keep it from drying out. The ideal consistency should be that of a damp sponge.
Think of your compost as a lasagne, consisting of green and brown matter, and an occasional sprinkling of additives such as lime and soil. The green and brown layers should be roughly 10cm thick. Green matter is fresh organic matter such as kitchen waste, seaweed, or lawn clippings. Brown matter includes cardboard, dead leaves, ash, or wood chips.
Heat activates compost so position your bin in a hot, sunny spot.
The right pH
Ideally your compost bin should have a pH of about 6 or 7. Many compost bins become too acidic – a handful of lime every now and then will help to balance it. Ensuring you have similar amounts of green and brown waste will also keep the acidity levels balanced. Fruit flies are a sure sign that your compost has become too acidic.
Microorganisms and earthworms will enter the compost bin when it has contact with the ground. This is a good thing! Adding a thin layer of soil to your compost every so often will encourage more activity.