If you’ve missed Part 1 of Become A Composting Expert, click right here.
The microorganisms that make the best compost need air to live.
This is why it’s not necessary to cover your compost bin with a lid. Simply place a layer of newspapers, cardboard, or hay at the top instead.
You may also add ‘browns‘ that provide pockets of air, such as scrunched up paper, shredded cardboard egg boxes, and toilet roll tubes.
We also recommend mixing or turning over your compost pile once every few weeks. Take caution not to mix or turn over your pile too often due to the next point below.
Did you know that heat is generated during the composting process?
The beneficial microorganisms in your compost thrive in a warm environment, and the temperature helps them work effectively on your wastes.
As such, avoid mixing or turning over your compost pile too often, because doing so would dissipate heat from your pile.
You may also retain warmth by covering the top of your compost pile with a flattened cardboard box, layers of newspaper, or hay.
Placing your compost bin in partial sun will also ensure plenty of warmth. Take care not to place your bin under direct sunlight as overheating may kill the beneficial microorganisms.
It’s important to ensure that your compost pile has just enough moisture — not too dry or wet.
This is because an overly wet compost pile will lead to smells and pests, whereas a dry compost pile will result in inactivity (which means a very slow composting process).
Here is a simple gauge:
- Take a sample of compost from the middle of the compost pile.
- Squeeze the sample in your hand.
- If the liquid fills the cracks between your fingers, you have enough moisture.
- If the liquid is pouring out of your hand, it is too wet. If that’s the case, mix in more ‘browns’.
- If no liquid fills the cracks between your fingers, it is too dry. In this case, add some water or ‘greens’. Another easy solution is to allow rain water to enter your bin. First ensure that your bin has drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to drain off.
Quick tip: As you may be interacting with partially-rotten material, wear a pair of waterproof gloves when checking for moisture.
You’ve come to the end of our series for Become A Composting Expert! Are you ready to start your very own compost bin? Let’s go!