Compost Screw

As it’s International Compost Awareness Week I thought I might write an ode to compost. Then I realised odes are poems meant to be sung, then I thought, screw that. Instead, I have written what I wanted to write, why I freaking love composting.

Whilst walking home from my Summer Hill garden site where I have four composts slowly doing their thing, it struck me that in spite of being ravenously hungry, I was in a really chipper mood. Musing as to what lead me to this state of grin, I eventually came to the conclusion that composting makes me freaking happy. Yes I know that sounds a bit odd. But I reckon it only sounds odd to people who have never composted. Am I right?

My first introduction to compost was like what I imagine many of yours were. My grandad had a heap down the back of the property behind the shed. I wasn’t much of a fan of it as it was a bit stinky and the shed held far more interesting treasures.

Composting has come a long way since then. Fast forward to about five years ago when I decided enough was enough and that I couldn’t bear to throw food scraps in the bin any more. I decided a Bokashi Bin would be the best move considering I was in a share house with a small garden. I contacted Bokashi Composting Australia. (Disclosure: I first met Maree when moving into my first share house in Australia. She was leaving the flat to set up her Bokashi business so I got to hear all about it and we kept seeing each other around the traps ever since.) One time I asked her why she composts. She said to me “It just feels good. You know?”  Yes, I did know.

Why I love compost

  1. It feels good to be keeping valuable nutrients out of landfill and reducing greenhouse gases like methane entering the atmosphere. The local garbos must love us as our bins are practically empty each week.
  2. It feels good to be building humus, full of microbes and beneficial bacteria for your garden plants to party in. 
  3. It’s a very real deep down kind of feeling like the one you get when eating your own vegetables or seeing a project get off the ground and succeed, it’s satisfaction without the smugness.

Many people who don’t know much about compost are stuck with Grandad’s festering compost heap in their mind’s nose (well, if we can have a mind’s eye, surely we have a nose in there too.) Composting methods have progressed a great deal since those days with many new methods and products available. If you do them correctly, none of them smell.

How to avoid creating a stinky compost

It’s about getting the greens and browns ratio correct and getting the air in to do its work. Browns are dried carbon forms like leaves, cardboard and twigs. They absorb the odours of the rotting greens and veggie scraps, build structure, make space for air and of course, sequester carbon.

Essential composting tools

  • Behold the compost screw. If you have a compost bin but no screw, do yourself a favour and get one. They speed up the whole process by allowing you to aerate the bin or just dig up the ready compost from the bottom
  • Kitchen scraps bin

Types of composts

No matter where you live there is a composting solution for you.

  • Worm composting (vermicomposting) 
  • Bokashi bin
  • A compost tumbler
  • A compost bin 
  • A‘compost lasagna’ pile if you have room.

If you’re not composting already, why not give it a go? Any questions, ask in the comments

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