How to compost your tea at home?

Updated: 5 days ago

At YUYUN we’re all about making your tea go further, in this article we’re looking into composting.

Like saving the bones for a good stock or saving the seeds to plant your own veg at home, composting at home is that little extra step you can take to help your garden come to life.

We spoke to composting expert and local gardener Tim Hewitt for some advice on how to properly compost our tea and some good signs to look for. There’s a lot to go over so we’re going to stick to the fundamentals.

What is compost?

Compost is made by decomposing organic materials, thereby recycling what would be considered waste products. Once you get going it’s very easy to maintain, it simply needs a turn 2-3 times a week and you should start to see your hard-earned compost after 8-12 months, better put the kettle on.

COMPOST FACT: a common misconception is that home composts attract rodents, farther it's a telling sign that there's something funky with your heap!

The Vast majority of compost needs about a 1:1 weight ratio of nitrogen and carbon often referred to as “greens” and “browns”, “green’s” hence the name are green but can be various colours, these would be your fruit and vegetable scraps, tea, coffee, leaves and grass. “Brown’s” are typically brown and dry such as paper, tissue, cardboard, twigs, paper, pretty much the rest of the tea box*.

*Remove stickers and anything with ink before composting, if you’re unsure you can always put them in your paper & cardboard recycling!

What is healthy compost?

Other than your nitrogen and carbon, there are also wet and dry factors, too dry and it can kill the life in your heap, too wet and it can create anaerobic conditions (meaning without oxygen), and your compost needs oxygen to decompose. To describe the perfect balance of wet and dry, it's like a sponge, it should be able to take on water easily, yet be able to hold it. In terms of consistency, you shouldn’t be able to form a mud ball, rather, it should be crumbly and soft.

Healthy compost will be dark in colour, should work fast, and be odourless. “The compost should drain well yet also absorb moisture”, this might sound contradictory, but take an example of when your compost is in a plant pot, it should take in and absorb moisture from the rain, but also hold and allow your plant to absorb the water and minerals it needs.

Temperature is another good sign that your compost is working well, and better results happen when you stay consistent with turning the compost. While it should start off as quite moderate it will eventually go into the Thermophilic phase, where temperatures can reach 50-60°C.

From simple wooden structures to compost bins that have a rotating function. There are many different ways to collect compost, you can even get little compost caddies for your kitchen to collect the tea leaves for the week. When you find the time make sure you pay your nearest garden store a visit and pick the best for your size garden and budget.

*Remove stickers and anything with ink before composting, if you’re unsure you can always put them in your paper & cardboard recycling!

For horticultural events and volunteering opportunities across the London Borough of Waltham Forest, check out Forest Flora.

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