When considering how to compost the two terms that crop up most often are hot composting and cold composting. However there are other ways to decompose the same, and more ingredients, to produce a useable medium. This includes the use of a Wormery and using EM Technology (Effective Micro-organisms) to create Bokashi Compost, then of course there is the pile of stuff hidden at the bottom of the garden which we will also look at. In this section we will take a quick look at these 5 main composting methodologies. Having identified just how much waste you throw or give away each week you can use this section to help guide your decision about which approach is best for you.
Recommended for beginners and most producers of home compost. Cold composting is an aerobic process that occurs when compostable ingredients are added to a bin over time creating layers of material. Microorganisms that are found naturally in soil, the air and within the compostable ingredients gradually eat their way through the layers creating compost as they go. It takes little effort and 6 months plus to produce a useable medium. If you have; 1 to 4 square meters of spare space in your garden or allotment. Produce the equivalent of 1 to 50, 1 litre ice-cream tubs of waste per week.
Cold composting is probably a good route for you. Have a look at the cold composting section to find out more.
Recommended for high volume waste producers with composting experience. Hot composting is the term used when the compostable ingredients are mixed together in sufficient quantity to allow the aerobic process to take place quickly and generate heat. It requires effort to turn the materials regularly, a good end result can be created in as little as 2 to 6 weeks. Temperatures within a hot compost heap can go above 70 degrees celcius and it is possible for the heap to catch fire in certain circumstances however the "smoke" most people see is in fact steam evaporating. There are commercial compost tumblers, either hand cranked or mechanised, that can be bought to make the turning easier, the down side being the cost, making a compost heap is free. If you have; Approx 4 square meters of spare outdoor space to store and create your compost heap and produce in excess of 50, 1 litre ice-cream tubs of waste per week. Or produce 10 - 50, 1 litre ice-cream tubs of waste per week and you have approx 4 square meters of outdoor space to store the waste safely until there is sufficient to create a hot compost heap Or produce 20 to 50 1 litre ice-cream tubs of waste per week, have 2 square meters of spare outdoor space and want to invest in a compost tumbler
you should consider hot composting. Take a look at the hot composting section to find out more.
Recommended for beginners and gardeners who want to be able to produce their own liquid fertiliser. A wormery takes up very little space as it is usually three compartments stacked. The wormery houses tiger worms, not ordinary garden worms, that eat their way through the compostable materials you give them. In addition to the greens and browns works can also munch their way through non meat cooked food waste such as pasta, rice, bread and cake. The worms produce two forms of fertiliser, worm casts, which are a solid that looks like soil, and worm tea, which is a concentrated liquid fertiliser, also known as compost tea. A medium sized wormery will; process about 1, 1 litre ice-cream tub of waste per week and take up approximately 1 meter square of space, which needs to be in a sheltered spot to protect it from the sun in summer and frost in winter.
If this sounds like your thing take a look at the wormery section to find out more.
Recommended for experienced composters or those that have access to very little green space. Bokashi is created using Bokashi bran and two Bokashi bins. It is a food digesting methodology and technically not composting. The bran contains a small quantity of Effective Micro-organisms or EM's that can work their way through the compostable ingredients that you would not decompose in your compost bin, compost heap, or wormery. This includes cooked and raw meat, meat products and bones. The output consists of a very strong acidic liquid and a thick sludge. The sludge is a concentrated acidic mass which cannot be used on it's own. Once produced, 2 to 4 weeks, the best place for it is either added to your compost heap or buried where it will continue to be processed by the EM's. If you have; a small space in the kitchen for one bin, and to store the bran which needs to be handy. a similar space outside for the second bin, where it wont be disturbed by children, wildlife and domestic pets. a compost heap or green space to bury the sludge. produce 1 to 8, 1 litre ice-cream tubs of meat and cooked food waste in a 2 week period.
Bokashi may be the right solution for you. Take a look at the Bokashi and EM technology section to find out more.
An indiscriminate dump
Most gardeners have a place hidden in a corner of the garden, behind the shed or tucked away at the back of an overgrown border, where they throw problematic waste such as brambles, old fence posts, ruble, dead pot plants and lumps of soil. They sit there for years until one day you need to clear the space for some new project or other. Having dug away the top, fully recognisable layer, you find a miracle that is perfectly formed fine compost. This just goes to show that no matter how much or little attention you pay to a pile of garden waste it will all compost down eventually.
The final section covers what you can do with the more problematic organic materials that can't be processed through the 4 methods touched on above and covers off some of the other common compost types commonly heard of. Take a look at the Composting other materials section to find out more.
If you have any questions please ask me.