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The answer lies in the soil

Way back in the 1960s, in the BBC comedy Beyond our Ken, Arthur Fallowfield, aka comedian Kenneth Williams, resolved any and all of life’s issues by wisely pronouncing “Well I think the answer lies in the soil”.

Arthur might be long gone, but his aphorism still holds true, and during Compost Awareness Week (5th-11th May) we are reminded that it is up to us to ensure that our soil is as good as it possibly can be.

“Returning nutrients back to the soil through composting improves plant health and promotes biodiversity”, says Chris Rochfort, CEO of the Centre for Organic Research & Education (CORE).

“If we reduce and recycle waste, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions at landfills, promote uptake of carbon dioxide by vegetation, and make our environment more resilient to the effects of a changing climate.

“Composting can help reduce landfill methane emissions and restoring soil health, which will help build resilience to climate change, reduce reliance on synthetic fertilisers, and sequester carbon by removing it from the atmosphere.”

Composting can benefit the climate in many ways:

– Reduces the amount of organic waste that goes to landfill, which when disposed to landfill breaks down anaerobically and releases methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential around 28 times that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.
– Improves drainage and aeration in the soil.
– Produces a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
– Retains soil moisture and reduces plant diseases/pests.
– Reduces heat island effect in urban areas.
– Increase resilience to the effects of climate change such as drought and extreme weather.

Most organic materials can be used in a compost pile, although you’ll need a well-maintained mix of browns and greens.

‘Browns’ are carbon-rich materials such as wood chips, leaves and straw, while ‘greens’ are nitrogen-rich, such as kitchen scraps and grass cuttings. Things like tea bags, banana peels, apple cores and a few egg shells are excellent, but steer clear of meat, dairy products and high-fat foods, as they can produce harmful bacteria but also attract rats.

Compost piles can be built anywhere, but are best located in a corner that gets a little sunlight throughout the day – the heat will speed up the decomposition process. It is best kept in a bin, to deter rats, possums and other hungry critters, though a covered pile will do. Make sure the air can circulate and turn the pile regularly with a spade or garden fork, to ensure a faster, healthier result. You might consider using a compost tumbler, which is an above-ground compost bin that stands freely with a metal base that allows it to rotate or ‘tumble’.

This coming week (5th-11th May) is International Compost Awareness Week Australia (ICAW), a week of activities, events and publicity to improve awareness of the importance of compost, a valuable organic resource and to promote compost use, knowledge and products.

ICAW Australia is an initiative of the Centre for Organic Research & Education (CORE), a not-for-profit organisation conducting year round organic research, education and awareness activities.

For more ideas and information about composting, visit compostweek.com.au

About Adam Nobel

CEO | Principal
M. Bus, Grad Dip Adv, B.Int Bus, LREA


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Adam is the founder and Principal of Hugo Alexander Property Group. With a previous career in advertising, 22 years experience in property investment, and 16 years in Brisbane real estate, he knows the market inside out to ensure his clients grow their wealth faster.

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