In addition to adding valuable nutrients to your soil, improving texture and keeping in moisture, compost is a great mulch. It’s so easy to make your own.

Making your own compost is the most environmentally friendly thing you can do to reduce landfills and nourish your own soil, starting in the kitchen with recycling vegetable peelings and food waste. Why spend money buying compost when you can easily make your own? There are lots of ways to go about it, from the traditional compost heap in a shady corner of the garden to having your own living compost factory, a wormery.

The traditional compost heap

When building a compost heap, it’s important to alternate layers of brown (dry) garden waste with green (wet) leaves, weeds and grass clippings. Water each layer as you go and sprinkle with soil to ‘inoculate’ it with microorganisms that will multiply and turn it into compost. To speed up the process, add a compost activator, such as Probio or Margaret Roberts.

Beneficial microbes

One of the most innovative systems is the Probio Bokashi composter system. It comes in a sealable bin that can sit under a counter in your kitchen as it doesn’t smell. For each layer of waste you put in, add a sprinkling of bokashi bran, which has been inoculated with beneficial microbes that digest and ferment food waste anaerobically. Tap off the nutrient-rich liquid, dilute it and water your plants. When the bin’s contents are fermented, dig it into the garden or add it to your compost heap.

Put worms to work

Earthworms turn kitchen scraps into valuable castings: ‘black gold’ or vermicompost that’s a tonic for plants. You’ll need three rectangular black plastic bins, about 15 centimetres deep, that fit onto each other, plus a secure lid for the top one. Fit a tap to the bottom bin so that you can draw off the liquid or ‘worm tea’ to dilute and water plants.

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