The following information sheets provide "Green ideas" that are easy to try in the home. The sheets have been produced by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.
Q. How will I know when my compost is ready?
Your compost is ready when you see a dark, loose and crumbly ‘soil’ and can’t see any lumps of food or other waste.
Q. How long before my compost is ready?
Turn your compost every week or two and it should take around 8-10 weeks to produce good compost. If you don’t turn your compost heap regularly it will take longer.
Q. How wet should my compost be?
Your compost should be damp as a wrung-out sponge. Water it with a watering-can so it’s moist but not dripping wet. If it is too wet, add some dry material and turn or stir it to let air in.
Q. Can I compost bones and meat scraps?
It’s best not to compost bones and meat because they can attract flies, rats and mice.
Q. Should my compost be in the sun or shade?
Heat will speed up the composting process but will also dry your compost out so keep it moist. In summer your compost heap may need shade for part of the day to stop it getting too hot.
Q. How often should I turn the compost?
Turn or stir your compost every week or two to let air in to help the breaking-down process. The more often you turn the compost the quicker your compost will break down.
Q. What if there are worms in my compost?
Worms help to break down the ingredients into compost and let air circulate through the compost heap.
Q. What are those little flies in my compost?
These are compost flies and a few are fine. If you have a lot of flies your heap may be smelly and too wet. Add dry material and turn the compost to get air in.
Q. Why does my compost smell bad?
Your compost will smell bad if it’s too wet, doesn’t have enough air, or if you put in too much food waste and not enough dry ingredients.
Q. Why is my compost taking so long?
A slow composting system can mean that the compost is not hot enough, or that there may not be enough air or water.
Q. What do I do about mice in my compost?
Shovel the heap aside, then place fine wire mesh under the bin or heap. Turn or stir the heap more often to discourage nesting. Don’t put dairy products, meat or seafood in—these attract mice.
Q. What do I do about ants in my compost?
Adding lime and turning the heap will discourage ants. If the heap seems to be drying out, water it.