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Laurie always uses gypsum in his composting process. He advises the use of gypsum in the practice of composting for the following reasons:

It reduces the volatilization of nitrogen into ammonia gas.
It prevents the fluctuation of ph extremes
It neutralizes resins in ligneous material
It stabilizes salinity leaching.
It supplies adequate calcium without causing the compost to become alkaline.

And it has other benefits too! Arrow


Laurie never uses bio-solids in his composting process because of their potential for containing residual toxins.

Certain food waste as residue poses health risks so I am selective of what material I use in my composting, but I try to use materials with use useful elements for short term, medium term and long term benefits for purpose of  use.

The presence of harmful bacteria in dog and cat manure poses health risks so Laurie never uses dog or cat litter in his compost. He advises the use of horse manure where possible or cow manure if horse manure is not available. My compost has to be good for the environment as well as within the environment. It has to be useful as well as safe to the user.

Once you have created your compost, or if you are considering buying compost, you can check it visually to see how good the quality is.

According to Laurie:

“A good compost is very dark (depending on the feedstock used). It has none of the original material showing in it. It will have a sweet, earthy, smell to it and it will have been screened of trash (large sticks or chunks of wood etc).”

Ask the retailer how long the compost was cured for. Laurie says a good compost will have been cured for at least a month (the longer the better).


Arrow Backyard Composting – Tips and Hints

There are 3 main things to get a compost heap working, that is using the aerobic method [using air].

  1. Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio; the balance of carbon and nitrogen is needed for the composting feedstock (material) to work as substrate with the micro-biological life. Note! any woody type material will take longer to break-down because of the lignin content, so it will take longer for the micro-life to make use of any carbon.
  2. Moisture Content; about 40% to 45% is required for average composting, equal to a squeezed out sponge, Caution! Using a lot of food-scrap and/or lawn cuttings will have an effect on moisture content; using paperboard like used toilet roll sleeves will soak-up moisture and add useable carbon, tear the paperboard up, it will work quicker with micro-life.
  3. Air-flow is important, using a stake in the heap/bin, then give the stake a wriggle, also using woody type roughage mixed in with the food-waste and etc will stop compacting. Rule of thumb, anything woody about the size of a thumb nail is good.

Depending what the compost will be used for; watch which animal manures you use in the composting – chicken & duck manure are high in phosphorus, cow or horse manure O.K. → horse manure better for Australian Natives.

If your compost is getting greasy, cut back or stop watering; use some wood shavings or woodchip (lignin), if the compost has a sour smell (low pH [acidic]) after lignin is added – use some straw, it will sweeten the compost. Don’t use lime.

Use gypsum instead of lime; gypsum is neutral p.H: using gypsum gives Cation Exchange (metabolise) to the composting activity. Also better for worms than lime. Just sprinkle the gypsum on the compost like you would sprinkle salt on your chips.

If you have room in your backyard, try to have 3 bins or 2 compost boxes – so you turn from 1 bin/box into the other, thereby aerating the compost better. I prefer boxes instead of poly bins, wooden boxes can breathe.

Do-not discourage worm activity in your composting, they are great aerators, great activators of micro-biological life and good at mixing all the materials together. Good pH indicators (acid/alkaline). Don’t worry if the compost heats up a little and the worms disappear, they’ll come back.

Note! The above are simple methods/practices that will work for you, if for some reason you need help, I will do my best to help you if you contact me by Email.

Special Organic Soils & Mowing Service Contact Details

Offering a Mowing Service, Compost, Bulbs and Wall Hangers.

For Enquiries:
Contact Laurie Scott at;

Special Organic Soils

118 Heath Lane
Clarkefield, (AKA Clarkfield)
Victoria 3430
(03) 5428 5404

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