Sunday, 5 April 2009

"How to "Cook" Compost" - Book Review

My bedtime reading last night was this very neat little book that I bought from the local Oxfam bookshop yesterday.

ISBN: 9781905400577 - How to 'Cook' Compost: A Gardening Guide to Making and Using Compost Enlarge image

Making and Using Compost

National Trust
Anova Books

ISBN: 9781905400577
Format: Hardback
Publisher: National Trust
Edition: illustrated edition

"Composting refers to recycling of waste, extracting valuable nutrients and restore them to your garden soil to the benefit of the plants you grow. This book provides a guide to the various aspects of making and using compost: selecting the correct container, deciding on the use of waste materials, and putting this material to work in the garden." More

My Abruzzo Compost

How can I connect Abruzzo to this subject? A piece of cake, actually! Waiting for me in Civitaquana are 2 huge open compost heaps and 3 other compost bins, ready for me to hopefully add the lovely friable, fresh compost to my future vegetable plot. I was intrigued to find out if I have been doing the right thing in creating my compost heaps and I feel reassured that yes, I have followed one of the many procedures to make successful compost.

A List of Janet's Ingredients to make Fabulous, Friable Compost

I have added the following ingredients to my compost bins from my garden and household waste since last summer:

  • potato/carrot peelings
  • egg shells
  • scrunched up newspapers
  • cardboard cut into small pieces
  • lemon/orange rind
  • lots of watermelon/melon peelings!
  • grass cuttings
  • leaf mould
  • rose prunings
  • mouldy apples
  • teabags
  • coffee grounds
  • dead flowers
  • small woody prunings
  • soft hedge clippings
  • spent potting compost
  • toilet roll centres
  • cereal cartons
  • figs

The important thing is to ensure you have a good mixture of "greens" (grass mowings and other young sappy materials) and "browns" (drier, tougher materials). Also, I tend to "turn" my compost mixture every few weeks as this aids the "cooking" process. I really enjoy "turning" the compost and seeing the worms doing their job as that means the compost is on track to becoming usable and sweet-smelling.

Helping the Environment

In making my own compost, I am doing my very small "bit" to helping the environment. It is also "free" and it is most importantly, a very rewarding and relaxing activity.

Further Information

Have a look at the following websites regarding the gentle art of composting:

Farmgirl Fare

Videojug:How to Hot Compost

Videojug: How to Make Leaf Mould

The Composting Association

Community Composting Network


National Trust

Organic Waste Situation in Italy

I highly recommend making your own compost and "How to "Cook" Compost" is a very practical book to help you on your way to doing something which is very satisfying indeed.

Joey itching to get away from Janet's homemade haystack!

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