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					          DON’T WASTE IT

      COMPOST IT!

          CLING BEGI
 S AT HOME
                    N
      RECY




Published by Northamptonshire County Council December 2002
Why Compost at Home?

 Home-made compost improves the quality of your garden soil,
 helping it to retain moisture and support healthy plant growth.


 Composting your garden waste at home saves you the time and
 trouble of bagging and transporting it to your Local Recycling
 Centre.


 Composting at home is an ideal way to recycle your garden and
 kitchen waste, reducing the amount to be collected by the
 dustmen.


 Up to a third of the contents of a typical dustbin is compostable.


 Home-made compost can be used instead of shop bought peat
 based compost, helping to preserve valuable peatland habitat.


COMPOSTING AT

  HOME HELPS

YOU AND YOUR

 ENVIRONMENT!

   This leaflet can be made available in other languages and formats
    upon request (large print, Braille, audio cassette and floppy disk).
   What Can I Compost?

Do Compost
   Uncooked kitchen waste eg. Fruit and vegetable peelings, tea bags,

   eggshells.


   Garden waste eg grass clippings, prunings, hedge clippings, weeds,

   dead plants.


   Vegetarian animal bedding eg Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamsters.

   Shredded newspaper, cardboard, egg boxes, kitchen paper.



Don’t Compost

   Metals, plastic, glass.


   Diseased plants.


   Nappies.


   Cat or dog faeces, cat litter.


   Barbecue or coal ash.


   Cooked food, plate scrapings, meat, fish, dairy products.

  Easy Steps to Successful Composting


Composting is the natural process by which dead organic
material is returned to the soil. By composting at home you
are able to produce a wonderful soil improver from the
kitchen and garden waste you would normally throw away.

1 Choosing a bin

   Compost bins come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from a
   range of materials. Plastic bins are ready-made and tend to look
   tidier. Wood and wire mesh bins can be built yourself and can be
   made to your own requirements in terms of shape and size.

   TIP If you are building your own bin, a lid or a cover is important to
   prevent the heap drying out during warm weather or being soaked
   during rainstorms.

2 Siting your bin

   Your compost bin should ideally be placed onto soil.This provides
   access for the composting creatures that drive the composting
   process, in addition to allowing excess moisture to drain away.
   There is little difference between sunny and shady spots, the
   important thing is that it is accessible and not too obtrusive.

3 Materials, moisture and air

   Add your kitchen and garden waste as and when it arises, being
   careful to avoid those materials in the 'Don’t Compost' section on
   Page 3. There is no special preparation required... just throw it in
   and start composting!
 TIP Air is essential to the composting process, particularly during
 summer when composting activity is at its peak.There is no need
 to turn your compost bin contents. Just use a garden fork to poke
 holes into the material, as deep as you can, every couple of weeks
 to provide air channels.This not necessary during the winter
 months when composting activity is low.

Do not be afraid to add tough, twiggy material in addition to softer
items such as grass and vegetable peelings.Whilst these materials can
take time to decompose, they are essential to the composting mix.
Large, undecomposed items can be sifted out from the finished
compost and put back into the bin to continue composting.

TIP The compost bin contents should always be moist. If it looks a
little dry on the surface, just add water.
   Frequently Asked Questions


How long does it take?
Anything from six weeks to a year depending on the time of year and the
types of material added. Softer items such as grass decompose faster than
woody material but both types should be added to ensure a good mix.
The composting creatures are more active in spring & summer and quickly
decompose the material you add. During autumn & winter, the process works
more slowly but you should still continue to add material.

Do I need to add any chemicals?
No, accelerators or enhancers are not necessary as the required enzymes
and bacteria are naturally occurring and plentiful within your compost bin.

HELP! I have ants/slugs/woodlice/flies etc in my bin!
Nature uses a range of creatures to decompose your kitchen and garden
waste. Many may appear to be a pest in other parts of the garden but in the
compost bin, they are just doing the job they were designed for. Ants create
air channels, slugs decompose soft materials and woodlice work on the
tougher items.
                           The little flies are harmless fruit flies feeding on the
                           decomposing fruit & vegetable waste. If they
                           become a problem, just cover the contents with a
                           thin layer of soil or a sheet of newspaper each time
                           they appear in great numbers, and they will
                           disappear.
Where can I use my compost?
Home-produced compost can be dug into the soil as a conditioner, sieved
and used as a lawn top dressing, or used in pots and hanging baskets. In fact,
any place where you would normally use shop-bought compost.

Does it smell?
It should not smell, however if the bin is stuffed with grass
clippings it may do.To prevent this add a layer of torn newspaper, card, straw
or hedge clippings to every bin liner of grass added and the problem should
not occur.



                           Leafmould
Can I compost my Autumn leaves?
Leaves can take over a year to decompose. If you gather more than a sack
full of leaves each year, it would be better to turn them into leafmould.

The easiest way to do this is to
place them wet, into a black bin
sack, tie the top and poke lots of
air holes into it. Leave the sack in a
corner of the garden and, by the
following Autumn, you will find that
they have turned into a crumbly
soil-like material called Leafmould.
                  All You Want To Know About

                       Wormeries!

A wormery (“home for worms”) is best if you only compost kitchen food
waste - peelings, teabags, apple cores etc., to produce compost which can be
used in flower beds and window boxes.The liquid ‘worm wee’ which is pro-
duced from the wormery can be used when diluted to feed house plants.
Remember...	                   Keep the wormery rainproof and in a
                               sheltered warm spot out of direct sunlight
                               and wind.
                               Keep your wormery as dark as possible.
                               Keep your wormery slightly moist, but drain
                               off excess liquid to avoid drowning the worms.

                               TIP... Small amounts of shredded newspaper
                               will soak up excess water.

In winter the wormery should be placed indoors (a shed or garage) to keep
the worms warm. Alternatively insulate the wormery by using bubblewrap or
carpet.
Because worms feed much slower during the winter, producing less compost,
it is better to reduce the amount of food waste given to them until spring.


DO NOT...

z   Overfeed your worms. Food should only be a
    maximum of 2 inches deep until it is eaten.
z   Use fly spray on your wormery.
z   Let your worms get cold.

				
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