Start composting by spreading a layer of coarse mixing matter on the bottom of the composter. After this, fill in the composter with layers of biowaste and the coarse matter. Animal-based waste, such as fish bones, must be buried deeper and covered carefully.
Put only decomposable, toxin-free matter into the compost. See the sorting instructions for biowaste. If the compost works and heats up well, you can also put in apples infected with brown rot and leaves infected with blight.
You cannot compost the following
- Matters that do not decompose or which could poison the compost (for example, drugs, chemicals, pressure-impregnated wood).
- Ash or lime, which make the compost too alkaline and stop the activity of microorganisms.
- Vegetation or soil infected by the following plant diseases or parasites: yellow potato cyst nematode, larvae of cabbage, onion or carrot flies, clubroot, sclerotium cepivorum, clavibacter michiganensis.
Examine regularly what your compost looks, smells and feels like. Mix the compost, if necessary. Turn the surface layers once or twice a month. Use a gardening fork to poke holes to the compost mass every week.
Sufficiently moist compost mass feels like a damp sponge to the touch. Moisten and turn over dried compost.
Empty the compost when the content has decomposed into uniform, soil-like mass, from which you cannot discern the original matters. Post-compost the decomposed matter in a frame or a heap, for example with composted leaves.
You can use the resulting soil for fertilising lawns, flower plantations and bushes, for improving the land or in a flower pot mixed with sand.
- is warm
- collapses on itself
- smells like soil, does not have a bad odour
- has no fly larvae.
In regard to food waste compost, problems are usually caused by an insufficient amount of mixing matter. It may lead to soggy compost, lack of oxygen and odour problems.
Slow decomposing is the most usual problem of garden waste composts. The reason for this is usually lack of nitrogen and dryness.
You can improve the function of the compost with commercial products, but before purchasing those, you should try some household tricks that are good both for the environment and your wallet.
You need about 200-litre composter for the kitchen waste of a family of four. If you also compost garden waste, you may need a 400 to 600 litre composter. In larger residential properties, the composter should have a volume of 20 litres for a person.
The most affordable solution for composting garden waste is a neat and well-maintained frame or uninsulated composter.
You will also need
- separate biowaste container for your kitchen
- mixing matter (coarse matter, such as bark or twig chips, cutter shavings) and a container and a scoop for it
- a gardening fork and a shovel for maintaining and emptying the compost
- someone in charge of maintaining the compost, especially in housing estates where the composter has many users.
In a functional compost, the balance of carbon and oxygen is just right. Food waste and fresh, chopped grass produce plenty of nitrogen.
The mixing matter is the source of carbon. It also loosens and aerates the compost and binds excessive moisture, potential odours and ammonia. The ratio between waste and coarse matter is usually 1:1.
Mixing matter could include
- wood chips from twigs and branches
- dry leaves and pine needles
- cutter shavings
- bark chips
- unfertilised peat.
You can purchase mixture matter for compost from gardening stores, for example. Cutter shavings can be requested from sawmills or nearby schools or institutes with wood workshops. If you turn the twigs and branches from your garden into wood chips, they are great, free mixing matter. You can rent wood chippers and shredders from shops that rent out machines or from some housing associations.