Whether using a bin, tumbler or open bay, the theory is the same. Perfect compost depends on maintaining a good balance of carbon-containing ingredients and nitrogen-containing ingredients. An easy way of remembering which products contain carbon and which contain nitrogen is to simply think ‘brown’ ingredients are carbons and ‘green’ ingredients are nitrogen.
Carbons – Autumn leaves, pea straw, lucerne hay, sugarcane mulch, moistened cardboard, shredded newspaper (not glossy paper).
Nitrogen: Lawn clippings, garden prunings, green leaves, kitchen scraps, citrus peel, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds.
A ratio of about 60% “green” material to 40% “brown” material is ideal, but not essential.
Large material should be cut up as small as possible: the smaller things are, the quicker they break down. Animal manure will also speed up the process.
If making a heap or bay, build it directly onto the ground, rather than on concrete or paving, as this allows
worms, bacteria, fungi and other beneficial organisms to get into the compost.
- Layer the materials like a lasagne – brown, manure, green, manure etc
- Water after each manure layer with molasses tea to feed the compost microbes. Mix 2 tablespoons of molasses in a 9 litre watering can.
- Turn the heap every two weeks for oxygenation – the microbes that break things down quickest need oxygen.
This compost will be ready to use in about three months.