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Using your compost at home

compost-manGetting to the point when you harvest and use your compost can vary. It really depends on the composting system you are using, the materials you are composting and, most importantly, how you manage it.

For turning systems, with ideal conditions and high temperatures, you can produce a compost in as little as 8 weeks. Holding bins and wormeries can be harvested once or twice a year. Some systems such as piles of leaves or sod can take 1-2 years. In the end, all biodegradable materials will decay over time but if you have the right composting basics it just happens faster.

The best way is to use your senses to tell when compost is ready:

hands in compostLook at it: If the compost is dark in colour and it is hard to recognise the original raw materials- it looks ready

Touch it: If the compost is not hot or warm and has a texture of rich soil, breaks apart easily and is crumby to the touch- it feels ready

Smell it: If the compost has a pleasant earthy smell, and it looks and feels ready, then it is ready!

If the composting material is hot, smells strong, or you can recognise the raw materials in the pile then it is not ready to use and will need longer. Just put it back in, mix it up and give it a bit more time.

For more information check out our Using Compost at Home leaflet.

Where there are plants, there is a need for compost. Compost has so many uses you will never run out of ways to use this black gold. Compost can be used as a:

    • Mulch
    • Soil amendment
    • Ingredient in a potting mix
    • Ingredient in a seed starting mix
    • Way to make compost tea

For more information check out our Using Compost at Home leaflet