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Composting

As part of our policy to promote the prevention and minimisation of waste ( one third of every household bin is made up of organic material and when deposited in a landfill can cause environmental problems) Longford County Council offer the following guidance on composting.

Remember composting saves you money and provides a valuable compost for your garden.

Instructions for Getting Started.

Remember that one third of every household bin is made up of organic material and when deposited to landfill can cause environmental problems. This leaflet is intended to assist you with any queries you may have on home composting.

The environmental section of Longford County Council will be happy to give you any further information.

Greens
(Organic material with moisture)
Browns
(Dry material)
Green leavesShredded Newspaper
Tea bagsKitchen paper
Raw fruit and vegatable scrapsDried grasses & leaves
Coffee GroundsStraw
Plant trimmingWoodchips
Fresh grass clippingsSmall twigs
Weeds which have not gone to seedEgg shells


Do Not Add to Your Compost
Meat, Chicken, or Fish Leftovers, Chemically treated garden waste, diseased plants, manure from meat eating animals such as dogs and cats, grease or oil. In addition glossy print magazines are not recommended.

Siting Your Composter

  • Ensure the site is within easy access of your kitchen door
  • Has good drainage (not on a hard surface e.g. concrete or paving slabs)
  • Is sheltered from heavy rain and wind
  • Is not on a slope
  • Has a water supply nearby
  • Has some storage space alongside where you can gather organic material

Getting Started.

  1. Find a suitable site for your home composter, and place on bare soil or grass.
  2. Start with a layer of woody materials (twigs) at the bottom of the composter, to promote good circulation. 
  3. Place alternate layers (3-4 inches) of green and brown material in your composter. 
  4. Add a sprinkling of water between each layer.
  5. Whenever you add a food scrap layer, always cover it with a brown layer to prevent odours and flies. Sprinkling a little soil before adding each brown layer also helps.
  6. Compost is generally ready to use when it looks like a dark brown crumbly soil. This can be as little as 3 months or as much as 12-24 months, depending on the frequency of mixing and combination of materials used.

Using Your Compost.

 Compost can be used in a number of ways:

  • For houseplants and potting - mix the compost with garden soil. Sieve 1:8 mix  (1 part compost to 8 parts topsoil) because of the very high nitrogen content. 
  • Compost can be used as mulch to suppress weeds and can be used as a soil or lawn top dressing or a seed starting mix.
  • Compost tea, can be made by steeping compost in a bucket and using the liquid to water and feed plants.
  • Alternatively if you do not have a garden then you can give it to someone who has. Remember compost will save on landfill, attract birds and wildlife, and reduce dependence on peat.

Home Composting Recipe

The ingredients required for successful composting are no different than those required to sustain you own body, i.e. air, food and water.

Air: The organisms that break down the waste need air to function. The compost heap will need to be turned from time to time, and materials such as straw and shredded paper help to provide air passages in the always try to keep a good mix of garden and kitchen waste.

Moisture: Micro-organisms also need a certain amount of moisture to live, so the compost pile should not be too dry.  The compost should feel like a well-wrung out sponge, and may need a little watering if it gets too dry.  The compost heap should be covered to keep out the rain, and it is important to ensure that the pile does not get too soggy.


Food: There are 2 main types of food required for composting, Brown and Green