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  • Writer's pictureRifke Hill

Composting for Your Permaculture Garden… The Simple Way

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Composting for Your Permaculture Garden - indoor collection bin

Compost is an organic gardening secret weapon that can transform a sad, sparse wasteland of a garden into a lush paradise bursting with life.

  • Compost feeds plants.

  • It helps the soil stay damp.

  • It builds amazing soil structure and chemistry.

  • It provides the perfect home for hordes of beneficial organisms.

Besides bringing health and life to your garden, compost is beautifully eco-friendly. You won’t have to use chemical fertilizer, which damages the environment… plus, compost is basically the ultimate recycling dream. Because composting is an aerobic (oxygen-filled) process, it doesn’t release methane, a potent greenhouse gas which is created when household waste decomposes in landfills. Instead of stewing in a dumpsite, loads of your household waste will end up enriching the soil and giving back to your local ecosystem, instead of adding to climate change problems.

There’s more happy news: you can make compost yourself. And it’s really simple to do. We’re here with an article that shows you how to compost your household waste… the clean, easy way.

How to make your own compost.

You will need:

  • Indoor collection bin with a lid, small enough to fit into the freezer

  • Outdoor compost bin: this can be any large container, like a plastic garbage bin or a wooden crate. If there aren’t any holes or cracks in the side, make some, so the compost can breathe

  • Green garden matter: grass clippings, leaves or prunings

  • Brown garden matter: dead leaves, straw, small wood chips, shredded carboard or egg cartons

  • Biodegradable household waste

  • Optional: a handful of compost to give your bin’s beneficial organism community a kick-start

  • Optional: some earthworms or earthworm eggs for earthworm composting

How to do it:

  1. Collect your household waste. Store wet waste like vegetable peelings or old fruit in the freezer, where it won’t decompose and attract fruit flies.

  2. Place your large outdoor bin in a shady spot in the garden.

  3. Put in a generous armful of green matter, and another of brown matter – equal parts of each – and mix together.

  4. Water the lot, like you would a garden bed.

  5. If you like, add a handful of compost and some earthworms or earthworm eggs.

  6. Now sprinkle on your food scraps and other household waste. Don’t drop them in a heap, or they won’t get the oxygen they need to decompose into compost.

  7. Cover it all with a thin layer of brown matter.

  8. 8. Lightly mix up the top of your compost heap.

  9. Water the heap two times a month. As a rule of thumb, it’s wet enough when you can scoop up a handful and squeeze out a drop of water.

  10. Whenever your indoor collection bin is full, sprinkle the contents onto the outdoor heap, cover with another layer of brown garden waste and fluff it all up with your arms or a garden fork.

  11. When the bottom of your compost heap has grown dark brown and crumbly, and smells like rich earth, that layer is ready to be collected for bringing abundant health and growth to your organic garden!

More awesome composting thoughts.

Invite your kids to help you make compost for some exciting and productive outdoor play time! Composting is a natural learning initiative, where kids can be taught about recycling, the science and biology behind decomposure, and the life cycles of various organisms – all in in one lesson. Earthworms are a fascinating bonus.

Here’s a tut on how to make a simple outdoor compost bin out of boards. The boards are removable, so you can easily access your rich compost layer.

If you’re starting up a compost heap, take a look at our cheap peat pots and peat seedling trays. They’re fully biodegradable!

Composting for Your Permaculture Garden

Written by Rifke Hill


About the Author

Rifke Hill was raised on the sort of farm your grandparents told tales about – milking cows, gathering eggs, hoeing the soil, and building fires to heat water. She now spends part of her time copywriting online as a freelancer. The rest of it is spent nurturing and teaching her four energetic children, growing vegetables, baking bread, reading voraciously, having coffee with the neighbors, and enjoying the sunny slopes of the smallholding where she lives, in the Garden Route, South Africa.

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