Making compost is easy, but the more effort you put in, the quicker you will have compost to use in the garden. Taking the time to chop garden waste into smaller pieces helps it to decompose because it increases the surface area of the material. Moisture is important – the organisms that break down organic matter need water to survive, so keep the materials just damp, but not too wet. Aerating your compost pile with a garden fork at least once a week (or more) really speeds things up, and it’s a great way to work off those Christmas indulgences!
If you don’t have a compost bin, just find a spot in the corner of the yard where you can pile everything up. A good place for making compost is directly on top of any bare ground where the soil needs improving – such as a garden border, a vacant vegie bed or a spot where you plan to plant a tree. That way you won’t need to shovel up and transport your compost later.
Homemade compost is a terrific soil improver and costs next to nothing to make. Another easy and cost-effective way to give your soil a boost is to sow a green manure crop that you can chop up and dig directly into the earth. In the January issue, we show you how it’s done, and give a list of suitable green manure crops to sow in summer.