Compost is organic matter, such as garden waste or uncooked vegetable and fruit peelings, which decompose to form a dark brown, soil-like material, rich in plant nutrients.
During composting, microscopic organisms use the organic waste to feed on and multiply. As this happens the organic materials are broken down into carbon dioxide, water and a residue. This residue and the remaining micro-organisms form the material that is called compost. When added to the soil, compost improves the structure and enhances the biological activity that is vital for healthy plant growth.
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Up to 30% of household rubbish is organic and suitable for composting. By taking this out of the bin and not landfilling it we are helping to protect the environment.
Garden bonfires are polluting and create a nuisance. Composting stops the need for burning.
In the UK alone up to 94% of peat bogs have been damaged, destroying the habitats of the rare plants and animals that live there. Composting organic waste is a great alternative to peat.
Composting is the easiest way to recycle your waste because you can do it at home and involve all the family.
Have a look at the Recycle Now website for more information about why it's important to compost.
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|Compost ||Compost with care ||No – Avoid these |
|Lawn mowings ||Potato and tomato remains ||Diseased plants |
|Shredded stalks ||Sawdust ||Persistent or invasive weeds* |
|Hedge clippings ||Woodchips ||Soot |
|Young weeds ||Newspaper (shredded) ||Coal ash |
|Cut flowers ||Straw ||Dog and cat faeces |
|Dead flowers ||Wood ash ||Cat litter |
|Rhubarb leaves ||Perennial weeds ||Used nappies |
|Rabbit manure ||Leaves (leaf mould) ||Medical materials |
|Chicken manure ||Weeds in seed ||Plastics |
|Vegetable and salad scraps ||Bracken ||Artificial fabrics |
|Fruit scraps ||Nettles ||Glossy paper |
|Tea leaves/bags ||. ||Wood |
|Coffee grounds ||. ||Cooked food |
|Egg shells ||. ||Lawn mowings sprayed with weedkiller |
|Spices/herbs ||. || |
|Bark ||. || |
Look at the Recycle Now website for more information about what materials you can compost.
Setting up your bin
Compost bins are placed within easy access to your kitchen and it is important to:
- provide good drainage by avoiding locating it on a paved or concrete surface;
- put wire netting underneath the base of the compost bin to prevent access by vermin;
- add waste in layers, some from the kitchen then some from the garden to provide a mixture of organic materials;
- turn or mix your compost material regularly as the more air you can get into your compost pile the faster it will create compost;
- keep your heap moist so the composting process works. It should be as moist as a squeezed out sponge;
- ensure the heap does not become too wet as it will not compost effectively.
A good compost is all about the mix! It needs both wet and dry material, greens and browns.
- the green wet softer material, for example, fresh plants are nitrogen rich materials and will help provide nutrients to your plants.
- the brown dryer, harder absorbent materials, for example, dead leaves are carbon rich and help the structure of your soil.
- try to get an even mixture of your dry brown and your wet green materials.
- if composting on a concrete area try adding a small amount of healthy soil to get micro-organisms in there from the start.
*Please see the Invasive Weeds web page for information about non-native and invasive weeds such as Japanese Knotweed. If you believe you have invasive or non-native weeds on your own land, you can also find advice from Devon County Council, Defra, and the Environment Agency have some guidance that will tell you how to manage, control and dispose of Japanese Knotweed.
A step by step guide to composting.
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There are many uses for your compost. It can be used as:
- an organic fertiliser;
- a mulch;
- a soil substitute;
- a top dressing.
Not all vegetables benefit from ‘fresh’ compost applications. Some vegetables prefer another crop to have been grown on the compost first. Vegetables that benefit most from ‘fresh’ compost include:
- the cucumber family
- leafy crops
- globe artichokes
Plants that prefer to be the ‘second crop’ to benefit from compost include root crops, such as carrots and parsnips.
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The Borough of Poole has teamed up with getcomposting.com to provide an exclusive offer of discounted home cost bins, water butts and accessories.
To find out more and to view the full range of products go to getcomposting.com or call 0844 571 4444. The offer is available for Poole residents until 31 March 2017.
The two most popular bins, 220 litre and 330 litre converter, are retailing at £6 and £8 respectively plus £5.99 home delivery charge on orders £5.99 and over (fixed delivery price regardless of quantity ordered).
This represents a saving of £12 for the 220 litre and £15 for the 330 litre compost bins. There is also a buy one get one half price offer on these two bins. Check out their website for further details or telephone 0844 571 4444. Standard cost from BT landline 5p per minute plus setup charges. Other providers may charge more.
A Green Cone Food Waste Digester system is also available from getcomposting.com. Green Cone is a food waste digester in which waste that cannot be composted such as meat, fish, dairy products, bones and ALL cooked food can be disposed of in. This is in addition to fruit and vegetable peelings.
The Green Cone food waste digester comes complete with a kitchen caddy and accelerator powder and shaker.
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Water butt offers are now also available through the Borough of Poole and Straights PLC initiative. They are also available through local water companies. To ascertain if your water company is part of the scheme contact your water company directly. Your water bill will identify your mains water supplier. Two suppliers for our area are Wessex Water and Sembcorp Bournemouth Water.
Sembcorp Bournemouth Water currently have this offer on waterbutts for their customers.
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