Want to compost, but not sure where to start? Confused about the difference between hot compost and cold compost? Considering worm composting, or perhaps even grub composting?
Whether you have a gigantic garden and oodles of time and energy, or a balcony and an ovebooked schedule, there is a composting technique that is right for you. Here's a tour of the most common—and some more unusual—forms of composting.
Feel free to share your own tips with readers in the comments.
By creating conditions where microorganisms thrive, hot composting generates significant amounts of heat—enough, in fact, to warm a shower with compost
or even cook on your compost heap
Hot composting is not rocket science, and it doesn't require expensive equipment or capital outlay. But it does need some careful attention, and the ability to gather significant amounts of the right kinds of biomass.
You need to mix significantly more carbon-rich, woody "brown" materials with smaller amounts of nitrogen rich "greens" (kitchen scraps, lawn clippings etc). How exact you want to be is up to you, but the correct ratio is about 25 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. (For the truly geeky, a friend of mine has even created an iPhone app to help you maintain compost ratios!)
You will also need to spend some time turning the heap every few weeks.
Photo: Chris Tackett