Nothing goes to waste in this nutritious brew

REBIRTH: Those food scraps that used to go into the bin will be much more useful added to a compost heap. This nutritious blend will give your garden a real boost.

REBIRTH: Those food scraps that used to go into the bin will be much more useful added to a compost heap. This nutritious blend will give your garden a real boost.

Converting kitchen vegetable and fruit scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, etc, into compost eliminates unnecessary garbage collection and helps improve your garden soil so plants will be strong and healthy.

If you don't have a compost bin or heap, dig a hole in the garden, fill it with kitchen scraps, sprinkle a cup of dolomite over it, lightly water,and cover again with soil.

After a couple of weeks or so earthworms will have the soil workable, giving you high-quality humus.

Underground composting also works well when establishing new garden areas. Just mark each spot as you dispose of your scraps so that you don't dig there again.

Once the designated area has been entirely composted, you can then establish your new garden.

To compost larger quantities, build a compost heap.

Clear a patch of ground in an out-of-the way area of your garden, remove grass and level. Compost should always be built on level soil and never on concrete.

Scatter a few bricks placed edge-down within the cleared area to allow air to circulate into the heap.

Put your first layer of material - grass clippings, garden wastes, kitchen scraps - in the middle.

Next dust over a layer of fowl or cow manure, dolomite or blood and bone to a depth of one centimetre and sprinkle with water, repeating this procedure until your pile is built.

Turn the pile over with a fork each week to speed up decomposition.

A compost pile about one metre in height should be broken down into humus after two months in summer, but longer in winter.

Add to your garden soil in spring and autumn at the rate of one kilogram per square metre, or a five-centimetre covering over the garden bed.

It can also be used for container plants, raising seedlings and mulching around growing plants.

Mature compost can also be applied as a liquid tea.

Since most nutrients in compost dissolve quickly and readily in water, they can be quickly distributed to needy plant roots.

To make compost tea, add about a 10-centimetre layer of mature compost to a bucket of water, allow to stand for 48 hours, stirring occasionally, then strain through coarsely woven cloth.

Apply the undiluted tea to the soil over the plant roots, or spray or sprinkle over the leaves of plants.

Repeat every two weeks for flowers and vegetables and monthly for shrubs.

It's especially good for leafy vegetables such as silver beet, spinach, cabbage and lettuce.

Composting is easy and simple to do, and improves the health of our gardens.