9 May Update ~ Creating a new compost heap

Our main task for today was to break down our huge heap of garden waste, and create a new compost heap. We had a grand today of four individuals – quite a huge heap for only 4 persons, but anyway let’s get down to work!

A heap of garden waste waiting to be broken down to smaller pieces
A heap of garden waste waiting to be broken down to smaller pieces

To create a new compost heap, we first started by creating a base layer of broken dried twigs. These twigs are readily available at our garden because of the nearby trees in the park, and were easily broken as they were dried in the open for some time.

Base layer - broken twigs
Base layer – broken twigs

The next thing to do was to add dried leaves. These are also readily available in the park as the trees and bushes in the park shed a lot of leaves. Neighbour Dennis started explaining that normally, these dried leaves would still be considered the “green” component of the compost heap as they are formerly living green leaves. However, as we have a lot of garden waste, these dried leaves can also be considered the “brown” component. This ignited a discussion on what “green” and “brown” is, and how much of “brown” we need to add versus the “green” component. Dennis mentioned that normally, the ratio is 1 brown to 3 green, but not many people actually understand what this ratio really means. 1 brown to 3 green is actually the same as 1 volume of brown to the same volume of green. As in, if you have a 1kg bag of “brown”, you need to add 1kg bag of “green” to meet the ratio. And not 1 brown, 3 green. Confused yet? ;)

Adding dried leaves to the heap
Adding dried leaves to the heap

After adding quite a significant amount of brown, we started the garden waste. There was quite a lot of stems from the passion fruit plant removed last weekend. We also added dried leaves from the banana and papaya plants.

The compost heap with garden waste added
The compost heap with garden waste added

After several layers of “greens” and “browns”, we have a new compost heap! There’s still more garden waste that we can add to this heap, but we hope that our layering has been done well, and it will start doing its good old composting work soon!

Meet our new compost heap!
Meet our new compost heap!
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