Ballarat is going through an extended dry period, and our much-vaunted gardens, usually ablaze with autumn colours, are looking a little wilted and sad, a bit dessicated. What can we do?
“Compost,” says Eric Love, chairman of the Centre for Organic Research & Education (CORE). CORE is a not-for-profit organisation that for over a decade has lobbied to reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill.
“Compost has inherent moisture-holding capacities,” says Mr Love. “Additional organic matter will help in conserving water and reducing what water is needed.”
International Composting Awareness Week runs from May 2nd to May 8th in Australia. Mr Love says that around half of the residential bin waste in a household rubbish bin could be composted through dedicated organic waste wheelie bin services, or at home. About 33 per cent of the rubbish is vegetable peelings and other food waste, and about 10 per cent is garden vegetation.
“You’re going to get more out of a soil that has good organic matter. Compost is essentially a living thing – you’ve got physical, chemical and biological processes going on. The chemistry holds onto the water and makes nutrients available; it’s full of beneficial microbes breaking down hydrocarbons, storing water, metabolising nitrogen. It’s an amazing material.”
Mr Love says composting is a relatively easy process to use around the house. Information is readily available either online, from books or magazines or from the local council. However you learn, says Mr Love, it’s just a good idea to have a try – and not just for the garden. It helps the environment directly.
“We want Australians to realise that each time they throw organics such as food scraps and garden waste in the rubbish bin they are contributing to climate change. Most people are unaware of this and we believe that if they knew, they would try to do things differently.”
“Compost tumblers do a fantastic job. You need to turn compost and keep it moist, and they make it easy. For those in units, you can use a little worm farm or a bokashi bin.”
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