Making your own Dirt

Making your own Dirt


In my tiny little garden I am lucky enough to have my own compost bin so that we can recycle our kitchen vegetable scraps and fallen leaves back into dirt.

However, if you do not have room for a compost bin you may like to try a bokashi bin or a wormery.


What is a Bokashi bin?

Unlike traditional composting a Bokashi bin can also handle food wastes such as meat, dairy, and cooked food scraps. It is a kitchen method that works with anaerobic microorganisms in a kind of fermented bran that break down the scraps in as little as 4 weeks. It is very popular in cities and even friends in London have had one. You can buy one from Amazon


What is a wormery?

Worm composting is an efficient method of turning kitchen waste and small amounts of garden waste into nutrient-rich compost and a concentrated liquid fertiliser. However, it is not a substitute for conventional composting. There are a few drawbacks of a wormery in Amsterdam mainly that the worms will die or decline if the temperature falls below 10C degrees, when neglected they can cause odors, and they sometimes escape their home.



What is a compost bin?


I would highly recommend that if you are making a compost heap that you invest in a good bin. In the past I have used buckets with holes in them but they filled up very fast and sometimes produces an awful odor. The one we have now is store bought and very large. The compost gets quite hot as it is black and attracts the sun too. After some time the scraps will decompose and dirt will be available for you to use in your garden.


What can I put into my compost bin?

  • Fruit and vegetable peels
  • Coffee grounds & uses paper coffee filters
  • Tea leaves/tea bags
  • Plant trimmings & weeds that haven't gone to seed & Grass clippings
  • Fresh leaves & Deadheads from flowers & Fall leaves
  • Cooked plain rice & plain pasta
  • Egg shells
  • Shredded newspaper & office paper & non-glossy junk mail
  • Straw or bedding from hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens
  • Horse, pony, goat, or cow poo (sometimes you can even buy zoo poo)
  • Chopped up twigs and small branches
  • Pine cones & seaweed
  • Nut shells (avoid walnut shells as they can inhibit plant growth)
  • Used napkins & tissues (not snotty ones from when you have a cold)
  • Sawdust & barbeque ash (only from untreated wood)
  • Vacuum cleaner dust and hair

Things to avoid putting into the compost bin

  • Cat or dog food (these may attract rats and mice)
  • Cat litter or dog poo (these can have diseases)
  • Cooked meat, cooked food, bread, and dairy (these may attract rats and mice)
  • Glass, metal, plastic, and other non-biodegradable things
  • Hopes and dreams & maxed out credit cards

Extra attention:

  • Avocado peels and pits, corn cobs, and other woody stems can take a long time to break down. Cut or crush them before they go in the compost bin.
  • If you have a lot of citrus from squeezing juice, do not put it all in at once. It may harm the good organisms in you compost heap.
  • Some fancy tea bags contain non-biodegradable items. You may find them years later when you are digging in the garden. For this reason I switched to lose tea and to save on filters I now have a French press (cafetiere) for coffee.