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Get Composting this Christmas!

Christmas is definitely a time for eating and its also a time for leftovers. No matter how hard you try, its really hard not to overbuy food for Christmas and even with the most imaginative recipes there is generally food that can go to waste

As part of our Greening Geashill campaign we are really on a mission to get people composting in 2020. We ourselves in Tidy Towns are really only beginning to get the hang of it ourselves, and although we have been making and using our compost for a while we still make plenty of mistakes, and are trying to learn from them for next year!

If you aren't composting already or would like to give it a go, Christmas might be a good time to start, and you honestly don't need a huge space or expensive composting bins.

This is a standard composting bin for the garden, and they cost about €35 but there are so many recycled alternatives you can make yourself, everything from buckets to pins to wooden pallets, depending on your space and how much work you want to do

Compost is basically decayed organic matter so stuff like grass, veg peels, tea leaves etc. In order to compost effectively it needs air so if you are using a plastic container make sure you drill some holes into it.

Some feedback we have heard in relation to composting is that people are reluctant to start because it smells and could attract rodents. In terms of the smell it absolutely can but experts will say this is because

a. There is not enough air getting into the compost bin and its too compacted

b. There is too much 'green' material in the bin e.g wet grass and not enough leaves, peelings etc to break it up

c. Its too wet and gets slimy and smelly.

If you can avoid putting in too much grass, (i.e not all the lawn cuttings please!) and add a good mix of dry leaves, peelings etc this balance will honestly reduce the smell, we tried and it works!.

To collect kitchen peelings and scraps (check what you can and cannot compost in the handout above) any small container with a lid will do. There are 10l composting bins available to purchase through local civic amenity sites but honestly an old plastic container or big lunchbox with a lid works perfectly. (tried and tested too!) The softer plastic containers you get salads or takeaway food in will also work and its a good way of recycling them.

Collect up peelings, scraps etc and then transfer them to your compost bin every few days or whatever works best for you!.

We really like this video which goes through all the do's and don'ts and explains everything really well, and its got some good tips if you want to get into serious composting e.g creating more than 1 compost bay in your garden.

Finally, don't forget the birds! There are lots of Christmas leftovers they cannot eat (especially turkey or meat fat) but leftover fruit, porridge oats, potatoes are a welcome winter treat for them!.

Happy Christmas composting all!

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