Compost - what to do - how to make Compost for the Mount Moreland Conservation area

Mount Moreland Conservancy Compost 
Consider converting your unwanted organic waste into valuable compost with which you can improve the quality of the soil and thereby benefit nature. 

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 site. 
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 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 fed. 

Sawdust may be added to the compost, but should be mixed or scattered thinly to avoid clumping. 

 

What not to compost 

Plastic, 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 matter. 

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.
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 down. 

Keep compost moist. Water occasionally if there has not been sufficient rain to do the job.

By Michael Hickman
 

Compost

http://www.soilfoodweb.com/sfi_approach1.html

 

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 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.
Worm farm compost
The earthworms can be fed:
Paper
Cardboard including egg cartons
Coffee grounds and tea bags
Vegetable peelings and waste
Eggshells

Further reading at  how to start a worm farm
 
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.