How to Make Compost using School Work

It’s the end of the school year! We’ve received lots of Christmas cards, heaps of school work and with four kids that equals a paper mountain! So this is the story of how I turn the paper mountain in to pumpkins, for free of course!

Step 1: Take out the special school work that you want to keep forever. This might be what is already in your child’s portfolio. If your child has done a few other nice pieces of work add them in. That is all you need to remember the year by. One portfolio per year per child.

 Step 2: If your child made Christmas decorations at school, hang them on your Christmas tree. That means, remove the fancy star from Myer and replace with the toilet roll angel that was made with love! Refrain from telling your child how to put the decorations on! Let them enjoy it and praise their effort!

Step 3: Display some of your child’s special work, including certificates and letters to Santa. We’re living in a granny flat with temporary chipboard walls while we build our house, so I just hammered some nails in to the walls, tied some string across and have pegged things on. Each child has their own string for their work. Also hang the Christmas cards.

Step 4: Chop up all the other paper/card. You could use scissors or rip it up but it’s much quicker with a guillotine.

Step 5: One of my life goals is to have green thumbs! I’m working on it by creating compost. I’ve read books and been to courses on how to make compost and it always seemed really complicated. So I’ve just simplified it. My daughter Ash and hubby built ‘compost bays’ using bricks but all you really need is a sunny spot for a pile! This is my weekly composting ritual:

- I save all of my fruit and veg scraps in containers in the fridge. If I have time, I blitz them in my Thermomix and add to my compost pile. My amazing green thumbed friend Cheryl told me to do this as it speeds up the process. By the way I put all fruit and veg scraps in including citrus and I also put in unblitzed avocado and mango seeds.

-While I’m at it I add an equal amount of shredded paper/card to the compost. Usually newspapers, or egg cartons. When I first started the compost pile I added a huge pile of school work!

-I wet the pile with a hose and mix it up with a shovel.

-I cover the pile in a plastic sheet to keep keep it moist and hot and put bricks/rocks round the edge to stop it blowing away.

-I occasionally see bags of free manure on the side of the road I add that in too.

-I've noticed that as long as I get the paper/scraps ratio 50/50 that the pile doesn't smell bad!

That’s it! So this is all I had been doing for a few months. Then recently as the weather warmed up, heaps of pumpkin plants sprouted up! I didn’t even mean for that to happen! I stopped covering the pile in the plastic and stopped mixing it up with a shovel. Now I have a pumpkin patch! The kids are so excited about it and water the pumpkins every day! We’ve now started another compost pile in the next ‘compost bay’.

We all win! The paper mountain disappears, the kids get to keep and display their best work, and we get free pumpkins! What more could you want in life? ;) My kids also love roasted vegetable soup in the winter so those pumpkins will come in handy! Do you have a paper mountain at home? Have you ever tried making compost with it?!