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Making compost ‘lasagna’

Courtesy of Yates.

Turning vegetable and fruit scraps into compost is an extraordinarily satisfying way of recycling a waste product into a wonderful soil enricher. I dig holes and bury the scraps directly in the garden while others prefer to create compost piles. Yates tells us how to make compost ‘lasagna’ . . .

If you have deciduous trees and shrubs in your backyard or street, then autumn can provide you with a feast of fallen leaves to create your own compost.

Autumn leaves are rich in carbon but don't contain a lot of nutrients, like nitrogen, to promote the composting process, so the leaves need to be mixed with kitchen scraps and some handfuls of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food before placing in a compost pile, tower or tumbler.

Yates Dynamic Lifter is a rich source of organic nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from chicken manure, blood and bone, fishmeal and seaweed, which provides food for the composting microorganisms that will help turn the autumn leaves into rich, dark brown compost that you can then mix into your soil.

Here are some easy steps to create your very own compost:

' You can make compost in a ready-made compost bin or tumbler or build a frame out of old timber pallets or wire.

' Place the compost bin in a well-drained spot that ideally has some shade. A hot position in full sun can dry out the compost.

' Collect a range of materials like small twigs, garden prunings, autumn leaves, kitchen scraps and shredded paper.

' Place alternating 5-10cm layers of these materials, plus some handfuls of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food, into the compost bin, creating a type of compost lasagna.

' Keep the compost moist, but not wet.

' Cover open topped bins with hessian, old carpet or cardboard to protect the compost from the elements and help keep it moist.

' Turn the compost with a garden fork (or rotate the tumbler) every 1-2 weeks. This allows air in and promotes even composting.

' The compost bin will heat up (usually to around 60 deg C), which is a normal part of the process and indicates that the microorganisms are busy breaking down all the organic matter.

' The compost will be ready in a few months. The process takes longer during winter while the weather is cool. Finished compost is crumbly, a rich dark brown colour, has a pleasant earthy smell and is no longer hot.

Homemade compost can be dug into the soil in vegetable and flower beds before planting new plants or scattered around existing plants and then covered with a layer of mulch.

— Courtesy of Yates

Turning scraps into fertile soil for your garden is extraordinarily satisfying. You can add a wide range of things to your compost pile.
It's huge fun counting worms in your composted soil.
The final product — beautiful, sweet-smelling, friable soil.