Back to Basics: Composting -breaking it down for your garden

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This week our columnist Lydia Harvey shows us how simple it is to convert your waste into compost which will help flourish your garden.

Source: 1 NEWS

A good composting system is hands down the most essential part to any successful garden and provides savings in every area.

Did you know every year approx. 122,547 tonnes of food waste alone goes to landfill! Take a moment to let that set in.

Yet, by diverting and redirecting our food waste we can create nutrient-dense compost to grow more food.

Talk about sustainable! So how do you start?

Pick a location
If you're wanting to establish a quality compost system then it is vital to choose a good location, with partial shade and accessibility - so close to the veggie garden itself. Keep in mind that compost at times can get a little smelly so putting one by the neighbour's house is probably not ideal.

You can't compost everything
Make lists of what can and can't be composted. A basic guide might include newspaper, cardboard, grass clippings, veggie and fruit scraps, nut shells and coffee grinds. Things that aren't suitable are pet waste, meat, glossy papers, and anything containing synthetic or plastic particles.

Get sorted
In our kitchen we keep three lidded containers, one for general composting, one for chicken scraps and the third for finer things such as tea bags, coffee grinds and fruit pulp from juices and this is used for the worm farm which provides us with liquid fertiliser. The fine compost is used for seedlings.

Become an opportunist
Day trips to the beach to collect seaweed (which can be applied directly to the garden or "brewed" to make a seaweed tea) or trips to the park in autumn to collect autumn leaves to be used as mulch. Any organic matter that naturally breaks down will generally benefit your garden.

Dig a hole/trench
If you're ready to start diverting food waste but don't yet have a composting system in place simply dig a hole or trench in your garden and line with the composting scraps before returning the soil and adding your plants, it will start breaking down in next to no time.

From Lydia's Garden: Chilli dip

Source: 1 NEWS

In a large cast iron frypan (or crock pot)
Cover the base of the frying pan in quality oil
Fry evenly sliced parts
Skinned pumpkin
1 golden kumera
2 carrots
1 chopped onion
1 ground chilli
Pan fry until slightly cooked
Then boil down in approx 1 cup of water
Once veggies are mostly cooked (and water has evaporated) add:
1 can of crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 can of red kidney beans or canililli beans
1 tablespoon of cayenne powder
Cook over a low heat until all veges are thoroughly cooked through (if the chilli gets to thick too up with a little extra water).
Serve with nacho chips and avocado or cooked basmati rice.
 

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