Compost - what to do - how to make Compost for the Mount Moreland Conservation area
Consider converting your unwanted organic waste into
valuable compost with which you can improve the quality of the soil and thereby benefit
Why should you compost
Fist and foremost because it is environmentally responsible
to do so in particular in this time of climate change and because compost is a valuable product that should
remain in the ground on your own property. Green waste also does not belong on the waste tip
Secondly because it is socially and environmentally
unacceptable to dump your rubbish
Thirdly because it is damaging to the natural environment by
killing off of the natural vegetation where is being dumped in an uncontrolled manner often spreading
unwanted foreign invasive plants into the environment.
Forthly it makes the whole area look downgraded thus
negatively impacting on our property values and quality of life.
Fifthly Mount Moreland is a Conservation area.
The benefits of Compost to your
Compost is nature’s best mulch and soil amendment which you can make without
spending a cent. Compost improves soil structure, texture, and
aeration and increases the soil’s water-holding capacity. Compost loosens clay soils and helps sandy soils
retain water. Adding compost improves soil fertility and stimulates healthy root development in plants. The
organic matter provided in compost provides food for micro organisms, which keeps the soil in a healthy,
balanced condition.Microscopic organisms in
compost help aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use and ward off plant disease.
With a small investment in time, you can
contribute to the solution of an environmental and community problem, while at the same time enriching the
soil and improving the health of the plants on your property.
What can be composted
Most green matter which comes out of your
Dry leaves, dead twigs and branches
Tea bags and coffee grinds, vegetable peelings but be sure to
bury them to avoid attracting and feeding the moneys which under no circumstances whatsoever should ever be
Sawdust may be added to the
compost, but should be mixed or scattered thinly to avoid clumping.
What not to
glass, tins, old car tyres and the like should all be recycled.
Left over food
in particular meat, bones or fish scraps because they will attract pests rats and monkeys, perennial weeds
with seeds because they can be spread with the compost or diseased plants.
How to compost
Clear an area of all vegetation and mark
out an area leaving at least a one metre border of cleared earth around where the compost heap will be
constructed. Mark the area where the compost heap will be
constructed with four corner markers so as to create an orderly compost pile with the width being not greater
than three metres. The material to be composted should be staked to a height of no more that two metres to
allow for sufficient oxygen to reach into the centre of the pile, the maximum length of the pile does not
Start your compost pile on bare
earth. This allows
worms and other beneficial organisms to enter the compost and be transported to your garden beds and ensures
good drainage of the compost heap.
First lay twigs or dry grass
a few inches deep this aids drainage and helps aerate
Add compost materials in layers where possible, alternating moist and dry.
Moist ingredients are tea bags, Lawn clippings which must be distributed thinly and evenly over the pile,
green matter created as a result of pruning etc. Dry materials are branches which have been chopped into
smaller pieces to aid in decomposition, dead leaves, sawdust andwood
shavings as well as wood ash from your braai. If you have
wood ash, sprinkle it in thin layers, or it will clump together and be slow to break
Keep compost moist. Water occasionally if there has not been sufficient rain to do the
Worm farming - compost making
One way to reduce the
amount of rubbish your household throws away (by up to 25%) is to start a worm farm and minimise the amount
of organic waste we
Vermiculture is the technical term used to
describe worm farming, and the remnants
left after digestion is called castings. Castings are one of the best and safest fertilizers available and it feels and looks like
good quality soil. In fact,
castings are 5 times richer in
nutrients than good
topsoil. Made popular by the
Mount Nelson Hotel gardens ’worm tea’ is another non-smelly by-product made by soaking
castings in water and using the water to fertilize the soil, it is also a
natural pest repellent. The liquid
that seeps through the material that the worms eat is called leachate, another highly prized brown odourless fertilizer.
The earthworms can be fed:
Cardboard including egg cartons
Coffee grounds and tea
Vegetable peelings and waste
Further reading at how to start a worm
Please consider the
Before you dump your unwanted organic material onto the
neighbour's vacant lot which is not only illegal and could land you with a fine of not less than R300.00 but
can be very damaging to a healthy natural environment. In this way many unwanted alien invasive plants have
been encouraged to grow on the vacant plots here in Mount Moreland. Or even worse still burning your rubbish
which can cause considerable discomfort and often danger to your neighbours property should your fire get out
of control as has happened in the past in Mount Moreland, not to mention the air pollution, in fact it is
also illegal to burn waste in a residential area.