Composting is a natural recycling system whereby organic waste is broken down into smaller nutrients by microorganisms with other garden creatures, such as worms. The organic resources released in the food waste can also improve soil health and avoid the use of chemical fertilizers in your garden, which will save you money.
By composting you can give nutrients back to the soil and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
Use the guide below to help you decide between starting a compost bin or a worm farm in your home.
|You want to...||Composting||Worm farming|
|Compost garden clippings|
|Keep your bin inside – in a balcony or courtyard|
|Compost large amounts of food waste; more than two people per household|
|Keep your bin outdoors on bare soil|
|Maintain your bin in full sun; able to tolerate heat|
|Compost a variety of foods, including citric fruits, onion and garlic|
|Produce liquid fertiliser|
Effective composting requires a good balance of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials. Think of carbon-rich materials as brown things, such as dried leaves, paper and timber/bark pieces; and nitrogen-rich materials as green things, such as food scraps and grass.
Items that can be composted include:
There are a few things that can attract unwelcomed guests, such as mice and flies to your compost. Make sure you don't add any of the following to your compost:
* These high protein items are nitrogen-rich and can be added to your compost in very small volumes in combination with carbon-rich items (shredded paper and dried leaves).
Follow three simple steps to have a healthy compost pile:
There is a wide range of compost bins available from local nurseries and garden centres. Compost bins are also available at cost price from the Green Living Centre in Newtown (phone 9519 6366).
The bin should be placed on bare soil to allow for sufficient drainage in a partially sunny spot of your garden – preferably somewhere cool in summer and warm in winter. It is good to keep your bin away from the house and neighbours, but in a convenient location to empty your food scraps on a regular basis.
Once you have your compost bin up and running, you may add kitchen scraps to your bin as they are produced. Always ensure that the nitrogen-rich food is balanced out by adding some carbon each time you fill your bin.
A 'worm farm' is a simple and versatile home composting system that requires less space than other methods and is ideal for units, small backyards and other settings in high-density urban areas within Marrickville. Worm-farming is an excellent choice for composting food scraps and does not require any carbon-rich materials to work.
Worms don't like garden clippings, prunings, leaves, etc. There are a few other things that can make your worm farm sick, which means that food won’t break down making your worm farm smell and attract unwanted guests, such as mice and cockroaches to it. Here is a list of what not to add to your worm farm: