5 Methods of Home Composting with The Compost Guy
What are the five best methods of composting? And what are the pros and cons of each composting technique? How much does home composting equipment cost? If you’re anything like us, you’ll have a lot of composting questions.
That's why we spoke to composting expert, Compost Guy, to quiz him on all things composting. Psst! Read on for your Traidcraft exclusive 10% off Compost Guy discount code!
Now, over to the Compost Guy…
About Compost Guy
The Compost Guy initiative was started in December 2019 with a vision to enthuse, inspire and educate people about the joy, and rewards and earth-saving benefits of composting.
One of the most important parts of starting Compost Guy was to make sure it benefits those in need and make the world a better place.
A good portion of the profits goes to sponsoring x3 children in poverty through the work of Compassion. This is by way of a monthly sponsorship and extra gifts to the children and their families. So far, we have helped with food, school resources, housing, general supplies, and a few goats and chickens!
In addition to this, we also get trees planted with Just One Tree. They have sites worldwide where they plant trees and help combat climate change.
We have planted 236 trees, removing approximately 2.91 tonnes from the atmosphere per year as I write this post. This will equate to around 72.69 tonnes over the next 25 years, and every quarter, we get more trees planted.
Composting is a fun and eco-friendly activity. Here are four reasons you should home compost:
- Reduce your waste footprint and divert your food waste from landfill
- Reduce Co2 Emissions from commercial composting and collection vehicles
- Create nutrient-rich compost for your plants
- It’s a fun hobby!
5 Methods of Home Composting
Here are some composting methods you can do at home:
- 1. Cold Composting
Having your own compost bin/pile in your back garden is a fun and rewarding hobby for all gardeners.
Your compost bin needs to be placed on soil. This is to attract worms who will rummage around and help break down your contents.
Compost works with a good balance of green and brown waste, whilst making sure the contents of your compost pile/bin are regularly turned to aerate it. Whilst cold composting is more of a hands-off approach, a little turning helps.
For green waste you need to add uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps. It’s also important to add plenty of dry brown waste which is twigs, bark, prunings, shredded or ripped up paper and cardboard.
I would suggest a balance of 30-40% green waste and 60-70% brown waste. Green waste tends to release lots of water, so that keeps the contents damp enough, without the need for extra watering.
- 2. Hot Composting
Hot composting is all about generating the optimal temperature for encouraging the composting process to be as fast as possible.
The overall process is very similar to the traditional composting method above, however it is advised that you purchase a ‘hot composter’ that helps more with insulation and aeration.
It’s important to get the balance of green and brown materials close to one part green to two parts brown, and ensure aeration.
The main benefits of hot composting are:
- It gets very hot and creates compost on one-three months
- Because of the heat you can add in weeds and pretty much all cooked food waste as the heat kills the pathogens.
Hot composters range from £120 - £400 depending on brand and size. We’d suggest this is the best method to compost the likes of Traidcraft’s compostable packaging.
- 3. Leafmould
Leafmould is produced from decomposed autumn leaves that are left to rot down in a container that allows air to access the leaves.
It is dark brown-black and has a nice earthy smell. It has a crumbly texture, very much like compost. You don’t need to add other organic materials, such as kitchen waste - just the leaves!
Just collect lots of leaves and store them in a container. One of the most basic leafmould container methods is to put the leaves in a black bin bag, pierce the bag to let air in and leave them for up to 2 years. If the leaves are very dry, moisten them before putting them in the bag. Finally, loosely tie off the top of the bag.
Leafmould is essentially a soil conditioner. According to some studies, adding leafmould increases water retention in soils by over 50%. It also improves the soil structure and provides a fantastic habitat for earthworms and beneficial bacteria.
- 4. Worm Composting
Worm composting is using worms to recycle food scraps and other organic material into compost called worm compost or vermicompost.
Worms eat the scraps, which become compost as they pass through the worm's body. Compost exits the worm through its tail end.
Your worm compost bin should consist of at least two compartments; a lower collection area for the liquid and an upper composting area where your kitchen waste goes. The upper level is where the worms actively work.
Worms need moisture, air, food, darkness, and warm (not hot) temperatures. Bedding, made of newspaper strips, compost or leaves, will hold moisture and contain air spaces that are vital to your worm's health.
It’s important to only put in what is good for the worms.
- 5. Bokashi
Bokashi is an alternative type of composting to the more traditional garden compost bin. It’s a very different practice, but is fun and speeds up the composting process which can make it more fulfilling.
The method involves, placing all your food waste into fully sealed containers, and sprinkling the all-important ‘Bokashi Bran’ over it before sealing the container.
Every few days you will need to open the tap at the bottom of the bucket and drain off the juice that is created. The great news is that this juice is plant food when diluted with a bit of water.
When the bucket is full, leave it outside for 4-6 weeks, and in the end you can use the organic matter as fertiliser and mulch. Of course, you should have two buckets, so you are filling up a new bucket whilst the full one is fermenting.
Need help or advice on home composting?
If you would like more information, or a bit of consulting on which option is best for you, please feel free to get in touch with Adam Johannes, the founder of Compost Guy at www.compostguy.co.uk.
Want to invest in some composting equipment from The Compost Guy? Now's the time to do it, with your Traidcraft exclusive £10 off code. Simply enter TRAIDCRAFT10 at the checkout.