Make compost to recycle your kitchen scraps. It's easier than you think! (www.africanepicure.com)

(Flickr: Bev Wagar)

Making your own compost at home really doesn’t require anything. After all, it’s the billions and billions of microorganisms decomposing your kitchen’s organic matter into soil who are doing all the work.

All you need for compost is a plastic rubbish bin with a lid that closes. That, and a steady supply of dry matter that you’ll mix in with your kitchen scraps to keep things properly decomposing. The dry matter is important to encourage aerobic fermentation and keep your compost smelling fresh. Without enough dry leaves, newspapers or lawn clippings, your compost starts to anaerobically ferment and smells like garbage. If you’re aware of it, this probably won’t happen to you. Just make sure you always have dry matter around to add to the compost.

Easy Steps For Making Compost

Plant-based kitchen scraps (ideally no meat, animal products or cooked food, as it is more likely to anaerobically ferment)

Dry matter (dry leaves, shredded newspaper or lawn clippings)

A plastic rubbish bin with a lid that closes

1. Drill a few holes in the bottom of your plastic rubbish bin and one or two holes around its circumfernce. You want the compost to be able to breathe and to drain off excess moisture easily.

If the compost can’t drain properly, the compost will become too wet and start smelling like garbage. This is a sign to add more dry mater, and maybe even shovel everything back together again with a lot more leaves and newspaper mixed in. People don’t realize that healthy, working compost is supposed to smell good.

2. Add a layer of dry matter to the bottom of the bin. Spread it out evenly.

3. Collect your kitchen scraps in a small plastic and, when you have enough, add them to the bin. Spread them out evenly and notice how thick the layer is.

4. Cover your kitchen scraps with the same thickness of dry matter, spread over the top. Make sure the kitchen scraps are entirely covered. This is another way to keep things decomposing properly and smelling good.

5. Keep your compost bin in the garden near enough to the kitchen that you can easily access it.

If you don’t have a garden, you can keep it on the balcony on several layers of newspaper, which you can then use as dry mater.

The soil under your compost bin will become particularly nutritous, so you may want to move the bin around now and then.

6. Your compost will be ready to use after three months or so.

If the bin fills up before then, empty it out and see if the bottom layers have decomposed enough to use in your soil. If there are still large pieces, shovel everything back into the bin and leave it for another month or two, then check it again.

When you’re ready to use your compost, empty out the mixture and use what has decomposed at the bottom. Probably the top layer won’t be ready yet, so shovel the top layer into the bottom of the bin to make the next batch of compost.

Compost added to your soil as a top, nutritious later without turning and disturbing your soil. When you lay down a layer of compost, be sure to cover it with dried leaves and mulch, so that the soil can be protected from drying out too much.

To find out more about why to make compost for your own garden, why not read:

About Compost

For African household tips, homemade beauty productså and how-to recipes, check out:

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