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
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 soil
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 garden.
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
What not to compost
Plastic, glass, tins, old car tyres and the like should all be
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
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 the pile.
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
Keep compost moist. Water occasionally
if there has not been sufficient rain to do the job.
By Michael Hickman
Worm farming - compost
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 produce.
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 following
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.