Compost is the term given to the natural process through which plant and animal matter is broken down into a rich, dark, soil-like material. The aim of composting is to turn household and garden waste into a sweet-smelling, dark brown, crumbly compost. Composting is an easy way to cheaply return the nutrients of this organic material to the soil. Compost may be used as a soil conditioner, surface mulch or as a fertiliser. It not only adds nutrients to the soil but it also improves soil structure and increases its water-holding capacity and aeration.
Where and How can I Purchase a Composter?
Home Composters are available from the Environment Section at a cost of €55.00.
Payment can be made by 3 easy options:
- Cash at our Cash Desk, Áras an Chontae, Prospect Hill, Galway.
- Cheque (made payable to Galway County Council) and post to Áras an Chontae, Prospect Hill, Galway.
- Credit card or Laser card (091 509318/509132).
For any further queries please ring 091-509510 or email email@example.com
There are many different compost systems available- stand alone recycones, digesters, tumblers, wormeries, even electric ones! The best method for you is the one that suits your needs.
The RECYCONE is suitable for raw vegetables and tea bags, coffee grounds, and small amounts of garden waste.
The FOOD DIGESTER is suitable for cooked food. This process needs an accelerator in the form of bacteria in order to ensure breakdown.
The WORMERY is suitable for cooked food. This process is labour intensive and needs care as it contains worms.
Further information – Home Composting
Ways to use your Compost:
- To enrich flower and vegetable beds, spread a layer of compost about eight centimetres deep and wither leave it there over winter to break down into the soil or dig it in.
- Compost will give heavy soil a lighter consistency and better drainage. It binds sandy soil, giving a better texture. Spread compost in a heavy layer of about eight to ten centimetres deep.
- For houseplants and potting, mix the compost with equal amounts of garden soil and sand.
- Use sieved compost mixed with sand as a seed-starting mix or as a lawn top-dressing.
- Compost makes a good mulch or top-dressing for flower beds and shrub borders and hedges. Sprinkle on the soil when it is warm and wet and it will conserve water in the soil and prevent weeds, as well as feeding plants.
- Use when planting trees or shrubs by mixing a bucketful with the soil at the bottom of the planting hole.
- Compost may be stored in bags for future use.
- The soil under the compost bin will become extremely rich - you can dig it out every couple of years and replace it with poor soil.
- The best time to use compost is in the spring and summer or just before planting.
- Avoid using compost on herbs as they prefer a poor soil or on newly planted bedding plants as it encourage too much leaf and not enough flowers. For these areas, dig in the compost the previous winter.
Turning your compost
Turning your compost regularly helps aerate the materials. This helps the material to break down and speed up the process of composting. This can be done by mixing with a fork or spade or using a spiral compost mixer as described below.
http://www.stopfoodwaste.ie/ for advice on food waste prevention and composting of organic matter
If you have any composting queries or if you would like to organise a composting seminar in your community please contact Mark Molloy, Assistant Environmental Awareness Officer, Galway County Council, 091-509510, firstname.lastname@example.org .