There are lots of good reasons to compost. It reduces food waste in the dump, reduces our dependence on shop bought compost, enriches the soil, saves money… Honestly though, the main reason we feel the need to compost is because it is incredibly awkward and time consuming for us to buy compost without a car. So we have decided to make our own.
Once we decided to make compost I started doing research on how exactly compost is made. Well, again, it is really easy. I read everywhere that you just slap together some old palettes or timber planks, start throwing your waste in and hey presto the worms crawl up and break it down. Except, we don’t have any soil, we want to compost on our roof terrace.
I really couldn’t find much info about composting on roof terraces with no worms and after deciding against going for a wormery or bokashi bin the decision was made to buy a plastic tub and experiment. So that is what we did. Three weeks ago we bought a big blue plastic bin from Tesco for a few quid (less than a fiver). We immediately started collecting all our uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen. Also going into the tub are tea bags, coffee grounds, raw egg shells, unprinted paper and cardboard and garden waste. That is all. We don’t want to take any chances on the compost becoming smelly as we have neighbours very close, so no oils, fats, cooked food etc.
This picture is our pile after only two weeks. The first thing which amazes me is how much we have accumulated in only two weeks. The pile has definitely been bulked up by my recent pruning of the tomato plants, but I think the fact we cook most our own meals is also a big factor. The second thing which came as surprise is that the pile has started breaking down immediately. Ok so it doesn’t look like something we could plant our seedlings into just yet, but it has only been a few weeks. I have a lot of hope for it. The only slight problem is that we are using a plastic bin and it is covered with a plastic bin bag as a lid. I think this is making the pile sweat a little bit and there is some mould. I looked it up and apparently mould is not necessarily a problem. But I would still prefer to keep it to a minimum. So the pile has been turned and I will make an effort to air it out regularly and try to reduce the mould.
Here’s hoping that by next spring we will have some lovely, black, crumbly compost ready to refill our pots and get next years new crops off to a good start.