Quite simply it is a mixture of organic material that is used as fertiliser! Generally, the ingredients used to make compost come from our gardens and kitchens (food scraps) although organic material is anything that was once living.
Compost results from the decomposition or break down of garden and food scraps (organic material). It can take anywhere between 2 and 18 months before compost is ready to use. The length of time depends on the compost method used, what gets put into the bin, the time of year and how often the material is turned.
As the organic material breaks down, it changes and becomes what is known as humus. During the process, soil micro-organisms, worms and insects convert the organics into a soil-like material which can then be used in the garden.
Before you choose a compost bin you should consider what you will be putting in it. Larger, open bins are better for people with large amounts of garden waste.
Smaller, enclosed bins are more suitable for households with large quantities of food waste as they provide a barrier to rodents.
You may find you need both! There are a number of points to consider before you buy a bin. These are:
If you are making your own bin, you can use a wide range of material, including chicken wire, wood, plywood, bricks, concrete blocks, etc.
It must be on the soil and no smaller than 1m high x 1m wide x 1m deep and no larger than 5m³.
For large amounts of garden waste, units can be made from wood, bricks or concrete blocks. Ready access from the front is necessary.
Stacking bins have the advantage of being moveable and can be extended to cope with large amounts of waste. Black polythene or sacks may be used for lining, warmth and moisture control. Wrap a netting frame around wooden stakes. Line these with newspaper or cardboard to retain heat.
Bokashi is a generic Japanese term, meaning 'fermented organic matter'. Widely used throughout New Zealand, Bokashi Compost-Zing turns household organic matter into highly productive garden compost in just four weeks.
Bokashi reduces organic waste volume, enhances soil condition, reduces odours and speeds up the rate of decomposition.
The system is often showcased at local and national Eco, Home and Garden shows. Bokashi is available through the Sustaining Hawke's Bay Environment Centre, organic product retailers, and various gardening outlets.
Not only is it easy to use, readily available, and environmentally friendly, it also gives you many advantages over regular composting:
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