How to make your own compost at home

There is so much you can use from your own home to create your own compost, which will add micro-organisms and nutrients to your soil and help your veges thrive.

Any organic material can be used. As they all break down it becomes a crumbly sweet smelling "soil".

Possible compost ingredients

  • Eggs shells
  • Fruit and vege scraps
  • Coffee grinds and tea bags
  • Leaves and garden waste
  • Lawn clippings
  • Egg cartons and cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Seaweed
  • Weeds (without seeds)
  • Wood ash
  • Manure

The recipe

There is no real recipe! But here are some helpful steps:

  1. Choose a compost bin that suits your situation. Make sure its lid is tight fitting to keep bugs and rain out, and keep it out of wind and sun too.
  2. Break up the soil where your bin would be placed and add in some coarsely chopped up garden material to improve drainage and aeration. Air and moisture are important to help the microorganisms break down the organic matter. Add water if needed, but not so much that it becomes sloppy or compact down.
  3. Build up the compost in layers of coarse garden material, followed with layers of vegetable peelings, grass clippings and plant material. To speed up the decomposition process you can sprinkle with lime, blood and bone or compost activator. Add soil on top of this. Repeat until the bin is full.
  4. After about two weeks the composting material will cool down. Turn the compost over to increase aeration and speed up the process
  5. Depending upon the time of year, the compost can be ready any time from two to five months (it's faster in summer). It's ready to use when it has cooled down completely and does not get hot after turning it over. 
  6. Compost should be crumbly, dark brown or black in colour, with an earthy musty smell that is pleasant. Spread it around your DIY Garden, working it into the soil.