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Creative composting

Learn how to compost your food and garden waste.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Compost bin
  • Gardening gloves
  • Gardening tools
  • Vegetable peelings (or other green food waste)
  • Brown waste (old newspapers or old leaves)

Composting at home

Up Gardener have created a handy how-to guide on composting. Head over to their website where you'll find everything you need to know at the tip of your (green) fingers.

How to make your own compost heap

Before you begin

  • Source a suitable compost bin. This could be a simple box made from recycled wood, or it could be a large plastic bin with holes in it and a lid.
  • Everyone should bring in brown and green waste. Aim for a balance of 50% greens and 50% browns in your compost bin to get the right mix.

Start making compost

  1. Set up the compost bin in an outdoor space.
  2. Everyone should put on gloves and help to sort out the brown and green waste. Compost bins are perfect when there are equal amounts of both to keep the compost healthy.
  3. Everyone should add handfuls of waste to the compost bin, alternating between green and brown. This makes sure it is nicely mixed together and can start to break down into compost.

Check on the compost

  1. The compost needs feeding and mixing regularly to ensure air is circulated, because this helps to break things down more.
  2. Everyone should form a plan for continuing to make compost over the next few weeks. Check the following:
    • The waste in the compost bin should be slightly damp. Add a cup of water if needed.
    • Mix the waste with a garden fork (or hand fork if your compost bin is not very big). This helps the waste break down into compost.
    • If the food scraps haven’t turned into soil after a few weeks, add more green waste and make sure everything is kept damp.
    • If the waste is smelly and wet, add more brown waste and mix it more frequently. Also, break apart any big materials (like big sticks) to keep the air flowing.

Use your compost

  1. Finished compost will be dark, crumbly and smell like earth. It will take between four and six months to get compost after you start. It will end up at the top of the bin.
  2. Remove the finished compost from the bin, leaving other waste in there to continue decomposing.
  3. Use the compost on flower beds and at the base of trees and shrubs.
  4. If you have more compost than you can use, everyone should do some research and find out if there is anyone in your local community that could use it.

Reflection

This activity helped you to become an active citizen in society. You have contributed to conserving the environment by turning waste into something that can be reused for another purpose. How did you help the environment by making compost? Did this project encourage you to think about what you are throwing away? How could you create less waste from now on?

This activity was also about learning skills that you can use later in life. What skills did you use when you were making compost? This was a long term project that was about teamwork and not giving up, as well as getting some compost for our plants. Which was your favourite part of making compost? Do you think you’d like to make it again?

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Gardening and nature

Everyone must wash their hands after the activity has finished. Wear gloves if needed. Explain how to safely use equipment and set clear boundaries so everyone knows what’s allowed.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.