Gardening: how to make compost successfully? Our tips to properly manage your organic waste

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The classification of green and food waste is mandatory at source from January 1, 2024 for individuals and professionals.

The stakes are high, because our organic waste represents between 40% and 60% of our household waste container. If you haven’t already, now is the time to install a composter.

In container or pile

To carry out successful composting, there are some rules to follow. There you can see all kinds of small creatures: worms, mosquitoes, beetles, mealybugs and other centipedes. Long live biodiversity! This fauna is a sign of the good health of your fertilizer.

To accommodate it, you must choose the type of composter. There are PVC or wooden bins. Be careful not to choose a model that is too tall. Otherwise, mixing the waste can be difficult. Closed containers, especially PVC ones, have another disadvantage: in the event of heat, the waste can dry out, which would block the decomposition process.

That is why the simplest system, composting in piles, is recommended. Nothing could be easier to install: on the ground, mark a one-square-metre space surrounded by raw wood planks about one meter high on three sides and lower on the fourth side for easy access and installation.

Installation should not be carried out in direct sunlight or complete shade. A semi-shaded location is perfect, for example under a tree or an awning.

And of course, you should never place a composter on a concrete slab.

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What waste to compost?

Your composter is not difficult: it “eats” almost all organic waste.

Therefore, you can deposit your kitchen remains there without hesitation:

  • peelings
  • coffee grains
  • paper filters
  • bread
  • dairy products
  • cheese rinds
  • damaged fruits and vegetables
  • crushed egg shells
  • etc

But also garden waste:

  • grass clippings
  • leaves
  • hedge trimming
  • Dead flowers
  • etc

Or some household waste:

  • paper towels
  • wood ashes
  • sawdust
  • shavings
  • raw cardboard boxes removed from the tape and preferably without ink marks
  • inside plants
  • etc

However, you will have to avoid weeds, because its seeds resist composting. They can germinate and then invade the plants to which you have added fertilizer.

Also avoid bones, meat and fish. which can attract animals as well as diseased plants that could contaminate the compost.

As part of the European Waste Reduction Week, SMICTOM Pays de Fougères (Ille-et-Vilaine) proposes a series of activities to reduce its waste production. (©Benoit Fouque / La Chronique Républicaine)

Mix well

The waste mixture is secret of good fertilizer.

You have to mix the opposite categories or arrange them in alternating layers: this is how you mix carbonaceous waste (small branches, dead leaves, sawdust, cardboard) and nitrogenous waste (kitchen waste, grass clippings), wet waste (kitchen waste , mowing) with dry residues (straw, ashes).

Residents will be able to come and collect compost for free at the 7 recycling centers in Le Mans Métropole (Sarthe) in November 2021.
Mixing and aerating compost well means putting all the chances of successful composting on your side. (©Pixabay Illustration)

Ventilate the materials well.

“Microorganisms useful for composting need oxygen. Without air, they are replaced by others that produce smelly gases and methane, a powerful greenhouse gas,” explains ADEME (Government Agency for the Environment and Energy Management).

To ensure good ventilation, integrate thicker materials: a piece of cardboard, small branches and make a regular mix at the beginning of composting (when the activity of microorganisms is strongest), then every 1 or 2 months.

Monitor humidity

The level of humidity is an essential element for the proper decomposition of organic matter and its transformation into compost. Too much humidity and composting is hampered by lack of ventilation. Unpleasant odors are released. If this is the case, you can add dry materials, straw or even cardboard.

On the contrary, if there is not enough moisture, the microorganisms die and the process stops. Then the fertilizer must be watered.

By following these basic rules, you will surely have a good fertilizer. Your flower beds, your planters and your garden will thank you.

APEI-News. F.C.

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