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Garden Composting Tips

Tips from a reader – How to make beautiful compost

Garden Composting Tips

Barbara's Compost is turned every second day

When I started writing this blog late last year, one of the first letters I received in my in box was from the mother of one of the mums in my Mother’s Group. It was a lovely letter from Barbara congratulating me on starting my blog and attempting to encourage others to grow their own produce at home. Barbara’s email outlined her passion for gardening and also for creating beautiful compost.

Since then I have met and talked to Barbara numerous times and she is a beautiful lady with a genuine love of gardening and sharing her passion with others. She has agreed to share some of her tips here for amazing compost.

This is a snippet of Barbara’s original email to me:

My love of gardening came from walking with my grandpa in his garden. I could go with him and learn as long as I listened carefully to all that he had to teach me! and learn I did, but more importantly he had sown the seed for a life time love of all things plants.”

“Compost is what excites me most of all in the garden because it is the foundation to good soil and good soil = good vegies”.

If your compost is sweet smelling, you have a successful heap.

Garden Compost Soil

Barbara's compost was used to fill one of her vegie patches


 Barbara’s Compost Recipe:

  • Add all the food scraps from the kitchen except what the chooks eat
  • Avoid adding citrus or onion skins to your compost
  • All grass clippings from the mower catcher
  • The spent straw and chook poo from the chicken house
  • Paper (un-dyed)
  • Leave uncovered and mix with a spade every second day.

If starting a compost heap from scratch Barbara says that she would first add dry leaves, twigs then manure, followed by green waste (food scraps). Most importantly compost needs air and water. Just as mixing makes a good cake it also makes for good compost

Mixing the compost adds oxygen to the pile assists the ingredients to break down.

This is Barbara’s compost heap pictured below, it has a gorgeous pumpkin plant growing from it. It has grown from her Christmas Day lunch scraps.

Barbara's Compost

Barbara's Compost

Pumpkins growing

Pumpkins growing from the compost







My Next Garden Post :

I have started a compost bin. I will outline the steps I took to set it up at a future date….once my compost is looking more like Barbara’s!

Similar to Barbara, I started my compost bin as a way to take advantage of the nitrogen rich chicken poo that is coming out of our chicken coop (it is still the only thing coming out of the coop! – still waiting on eggs…)

I have experienced Mr Fresh’s idea of a compost bin and it is time to take over and do it properly instead of having festering food waste in my back yard!

Reasons to start composting:

  • It’s free, it’s good for your garden, it reduces waste and landfill, it is the perfect way to recycle
  • No special equipment is required
  • Reducing food waste in your rubbish
  • To recycle – papers (including personal mail items), coffee grinds, chook poo, garden clippings, leaves
  • It feeds your soil by producing nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous.

Some final words from Barbara:

Happy composting and healthy gardening, it is good for the soul and health of both you and your family, oh and most important – the planet.”

These are some of the books I read when writing this and researching starting my own compost bin:

Green Guides Compost, R Strauss, Flame Tree Publishing, London, 2009

Organic Gardening in Australia, P Pears (ed), Dorling Kindersley Book, Camberwell, 2006

The Australian Gardening Encyclopedia, K Lamberton (ed.), Murdoch Books, Millers Point, 2004





Thank you for sharing your knowledge and tips Barbara. I look forward to talking to you more about your garden





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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Africanaussie May 4, 2012, 9:45 am

    If you have chooks that will be a great boon to your compost, but I do agree with Barbara that one of the most important things is to keep mixing it all together every couple of days, incorporating air.

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