The Urban Vegetable Patch is a modern guide to growing your own produce no matter the space you have. It’s written by Grace Paul who taught herself how to grow her own vegetables in a bid to live more sustainably. After five years of trial and error she’s become somewhat of an expert and had put all the tips, tricks, and tools she’s gathered into a handy guidebook.
From guides to planting on windowsills, balconies, and gardens to what to grow and how to grow, this beautifully laid out little book will answer all your gardening questions.
When it comes to growing you cannot start without soil and compost. Compost feeds the soil and helps retain water and remain rich and fertile. While you can buy compost, it’s something you can also make at home using literal rubbish you’d otherwise throw away – making your planting adventures even more sustainable.
The Urban Vegetable Patch lays out how to make your own compost as follows:
To make your own compost you need 3 things
1. Compost Bin
A compost bin is where you will be storing your green and brown matter which will eventually break down into compost. You don’t need a lot of space to get started. You can buy small indoor compost bins, large outdoor compost bins or you can even make your own.
How to Make Your Own Compost Bin
- You will need a container that has a lid. It can be made from plastic, metal, wood or pallets.
- Drill holes into the base and side of the container so your compost gets enough oxygen to help with decomposition.
- Line a tray (that will fit underneath the container) with newspaper. Place the container on top of it. The tray will now catch any liquid aka bin juices.
- Fill the first 10cm of your container with soil or bough compost. Shred a sheet of newspaper and lay on top of the soil.
- You’re now ready to start adding green and brown matter to your compost bin.
2. Green Matter
Green matter includes fruits and vegetable scraps (be careful of smelly scraps like onions if you are composting indoors), tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, hair, manure, weeds (without seed heads) and grass clippings.
3. Brown Matter
Brown matter consists of cardboard, paper, dried leaves, sawdust and wood chippings.
Composting starter kit
How to Make Your Own compost
Once you have a compost bin, brown and green matter you can get started. They key to a good compost is a 50/50 mix of brown and green matter.
- Start adding your brown and green matter to the bin. Cut up scraps to help them decompose quicker.
- Do not add cooked food, meat, dairy, fish, bones or excrement to your bin – this will cause a rotten smell and attract vermin.
- Stir your compost every week to get air into it and aid decomposition
- If your bin starts to smell add more brown matter. This will soak up the moisture and the smell.
- Be patient. It can take 6-12 months to turn into compost. You’ll know your compost is ready when it has an earthy quality and the original contents are no longer recognizable. When it reaches this stage, leave it for a few weeks to fully decompose before using it around your plants.
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.