Composting, in theory and practice

There is an old adage that says ‘in theory the theory and the practice are the same but in practice we don’t find this to be so’. The same seems to be happening with composting. We gardeners have long been composting and with a few years experience most of us have worked out how to make it work for us. There are a lot of slightly different ways of composting and of getting a better or worse product in more or less time. We gardeners have, by trial and error, found what works, and in most cases it is remarkably similar; a large bin of mixed materials kept warm and moist.

Alternative composting methods

Everything that has ever lived will rot down eventually but by changing the conditions we can alter the time taken and the quality of the material produced. Probably most of us make our compost by the simple accumulation in a bin of the various wastes and materials as they become available. The greater the variety of ingredients the better the results and soil is usually added as an inoculant and sanitising layer. Commonly there is not a re-mixing of the ingredients once gathered, thus they rot down relatively slowly and coldly, and so the compost produced often contains weed seeds.

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