Home Composting Basics

15 May 2019


When I was growing up, our ducks and chickens were the happy recipients of our kitchen scraps and weeds. As such, I didn’t have much cause to consider composting until I sat in on a composting workshop run by Ecoburbia a few years ago. Since we don’t have the ducks or chickens anymore, it opened up a whole new world.

Why do we pay for manures and fertilisers to improve our soil, when we are putting the ingredients of soil improver into our green bins every week?! Paper, cardboard, garden clippings, dead leaves, fruit and veg scraps and coffee grounds can all go into compost.

What is compost and why is it useful?

Compost is decayed organic matter that can be mixed into soil to increase nutrient availability and improve water retention. The soil in Western Australia is generally low in nutrients, and in Perth it tends to be sandy, which means it doesn’t hold water very well. While these can be perfect conditions for growing plants local to this area, other plants (eg. vegetables) grow better with the addition of compost.

Why should I make my own compost?

  • To save money
    • Don’t need to buy soil improvers such as fertiliser or manure
    • Don’t need to water as often
  • To improve your garden
    • Provide nutrient rich soil for healthy plants
    • Help to retain water in soil so it’s available for your plants to use
  • For a healthier planet
    • Save water
    • Reduce the use of chemical fertilisers
    • Reduce waste going to landfill

How do I make compost?

Check out the image above to explain the basics of making compost. If you’d like to learn more, the City of Melville runs regular composting workshops. They also offer a $50 compost bin rebate to residents.

Since composting can save you money, improve the health of your plants, reduce water and chemical use, and minimise waste going to landfill, we hope you give it a try. If you haven’t made compost before, would you consider it? Why or why not? If you already make your own compost, please share your experience and any tips or tricks you might have.

Happy gardening!

Written by Ebonine Lacey (Volunteer)

Do you have any tips for composting?

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