Composting and worm farms

2019 Living Sustainably - Compost

Did you know? Around 50% of the average general waste wheelie bin is made up of organics and garden clippings. Put your wheelie bin on a diet and start composting instead of sending all that organic matter to landfill.

Compost worms are nature's own recyclers, converting your kitchen scraps and garden clippings into nutrient-rich plant food perfect for your garden and potted plants. Using compost can reduce weeds, improve soil quality, help soil retain moisture, and reduce the need for chemical fertilisers in your garden. 

Join the compost conga line and put your household organics to better use as compost. Below are just a sample of top tips to get you started!

Pick your compost style

There are many ways to compost so it's important to choose a 'style' that suits your household best. 

  • Kitchen bench - keep an urban living 'bucket' style compost systems in your kitchen.
  • In ground systems - dig a hole and bury organics or add organics to a bucket/large pipe with holes drilled around the base. 
  • Compost bin - a more traditional option for residential areas and come in a range of sizes and types. 
  • Compost heap - a good option for big backyards, big families and avid gardeners.
  • Worm farm - can be good for small yards and balconies. 
  • Chickens - the ultimate and quickest composters but check Council requirements for keeping chickens before purchasing any feathered friends.
 Location, location, location!

Like real estate, compost is all about location! 

  • Choose a convenient spot close to your house or a path you take regularly.
  • Ensure the spot gets a good amount of sun without baking during our hot summers.
  • Set up your system, ensuring any open based systems have a good drainage base layer.
  • Add a few 'green', 'brown', 'wet' and 'dry' layers to kick start your compost.
  • Start your daily kitchen collection system habits (a container under your sink or kept in the bottom of the fridge) and add 'take scraps to compost' to your or your kid's 'to do' list.
 Catering for compost guests

Just like a party, who attends and what you feed your 'compost' guests can make or break its success. 

  • Encourage lots of worms, slugs, and soldier flies to your compost.
  • Some classic worm favourites include vegetable and food scraps, leaves, tea leaves and coffee grounds, vacuum cleaner dust, egg shells, some grass and small garden cuttings and used potting mix. 
  • Remember worms have dietary requirements - no meat, dairy, diseased plants, animal manure, magazines and chemicals.
  • Discourage unwelcome guests such as ants, cockroaches and rodents by making sure your compost is mixed and balanced and not accessible by larger animals.
Keeping your compost composure 

If your compost starts to need to worry, it is easy to regain your composure. Keep calm and compost on. 

  • Keep layering! Build one layer of organic scraps, then a layer of dry leaves and clippings.
  • Get the right mix of air, layers and moisture to allow the organic matter to breathe. 
  • Give it an occasional stir or tumble for aeration.
  • If you need to, add a ready-made product like ash or check out your local hardware store.
  • Be patient and in about three months you should have compost that looks like soil and smells earthy (not smelly).

There are so many more helpful resources available to assist you to learn more about home composting. Check out some of them below.