Compost is a great way to keep your vegetable garden nice and healthy. Compost is basically breaking down natural materials, like food scraps and leaves, to release the chemicals inside that aid in making a healthy garden. Nitrogen and Carbon are two of the most abundant elements in nature, and they can both be used to great effect.
Compost is a cheap, easy and natural way to feed your vegetable patch.
The first thing that needs to be done, is to get a nice, medium sized container. If it is too small then the decomposition process will take too long. As large as you can fit in your chosen area. The most common sort are black plastic containers that can be found at most hardware stores for relatively cheap. We used a large plastic trash can. For more creative options look into 40gl drums or if the budget allows, a rotating style composter.
Make sure the container is properly cleaned before any use. Foreign chemicals may be in the container from it's previous use. Compost is used as a natural fertiliser because as everything breaks down, the natural chemicals are released, such as nitrogen, which is what aid in the growth of the plants. We do not want to spoil this breakdown.
Before we can fill the container with all the ingredients for the compost, we need to drill plenty of holes to allow for air to enter. Air is essential for the breakdown and release of chemicals we are looking for.
When making a Hot Compost, you want to make it up of roughly 50% Nitrogen and 50% carbon sources. Some Nitrogen sources include; fruit and vegetable scraps, peels, egg shell and fresh plant cuttings. For carbon sources look for dry leaves, shredded paper, sawdust and cardboard.
Once you have all the sources you can find, break then up into the smallest possible portions. This will increase the surface area and reduce the time it takes to decompose!
Once all the materials are put into the container, start turning everything in it whilst adding a bit or water. We want to keep everything moist, but not soaking wet. When mixing, make sure that enough air is getting through the holes. The mixture will need to be turned every couple of days for a few minutes, the more you do the faster it will compost.
Let it sit, and in 4 - 6 weeks you will have your own fresh supply of natural and organic compost! Throw it on your garden bed, or even mix it into potting mix for great and healthy results for your vegetables!