Tagged with 'composting'

How To Get Rid of Flies from Compost Bin


How to fight flies from infesting your compost bin

How do I get rid of flies in compost bin? 

Hot composting reaches higher temperatures, making it less hospitable for flies. Add some Spice! Flies find these irritants repellent like cayenne pepper. Then increase the sun and ventilation. 

Quick Fixes for Fly-Free Composting:

Flies in your Compost Bin? Buzz Off with these Easy Fixes!

Ugh, flies buzzing around my compost bin! How do I get rid of them?

Answer: Don't let pesky flies sabotage your composting efforts! We've got you covered with simple, effective solutions to banish those buzzing bothers.

  • Balance is Key: Maintain a 2:1 ratio of brown (dry) materials like shredded leaves or cardboard to green (wet) kitchen scraps. This keeps things dry and discourages fly breeding.
  • Bury Your Treasures: Hide juicy food scraps deep within the pile and cover them with brown materials. Flies like easy access to their feast.
  • Turn Up the Heat: Hot composting reaches higher temperatures, making it less hospitable for flies and speeding up decomposition. If your bin isn't insulated, consider adding straw or leaves for temperature control.
  • Spice Up the Scene: Sprinkle cayenne pepper or diatomaceous earth (natural, safe for pets) on top of your pile. Flies find these irritants repellent.
  • Sweet Trap Surprise: DIY a fly trap with apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish soap in a jar. The flies are lured in by the vinegar but get trapped in the soapy film.

Long-Term Solutions for Happy Composting:

  • Location, Location, Location: Position your bin in a sunny, well-ventilated area away from your house. Flies prefer shade and moisture.
  • Lid it Up: Keep your bin covered with a tight-fitting lid to block entry points. Aeration holes are still important, so choose mesh or fabric-covered lids.
  • Water Wisely: Overwatering attracts flies and slows down decomposition. Only add water when the pile seems dry and crumbly.
  • Keep it Clean: Regularly remove finished compost from the bottom of your bin to avoid excess moisture and fly breeding grounds.
  • Friendly Fauna: Introduce soldier flies or composting worms to your bin. These natural predators munch on fly larvae and contribute to faster decomposition.

Bonus Tip: Freeze your kitchen scraps before adding them to the bin. This kills any fly eggs lurking within and reduces initial odors that attract flies.

Go Forth and Compost with Confidence!

By following these tips and maintaining proper composting practices, you can keep those pesky flies at bay and create rich, healthy compost for your garden. Remember, a balanced, well-maintained compost bin is a happy, fly-free bin!

Tired of Trashy Compost? Pickle Your Kitchen Scraps with a Bokashi Bin


Tired of Trashy Compost? Pickle Your Kitchen Scraps with a Bokashi Bin!

Are fruit peels piling up, coffee grounds clogging your sink, and banana bread woes breeding bin-bugs? Fear not, composting comrades! There's a revolutionary weapon in the waste wars that doesn't smell like sour milk: the mighty bokashi bin!

Forget the soggy stench of traditional heaps – bokashi bin composting is like pickling for your leftovers. This indoor, odour-neutralising wonder lets you turn any kitchen scraps, from meat and cheese to veggies and eggs, into a potent fertiliser faster than you can say "allotment abundance."

But how does this magic work? It all boils down to friendly bacteria called bokashi bran. This sprinkle of sorcery ferments your food waste, not composts it, creating a rich, concentrated fertiliser in just 2-3 weeks. And unlike regular composting, you can do it all indoors, year-round, without attracting vermin or offending delicate nostrils.

What is a Bokashi Bin?

The bokashi bin is a Japanese system that pickles your waste (bokashi means fermentation) and is perfectly suited to small spaces. You need two bins (they can be kept indoors) and special bran inoculated with good bacteria.

What can you not put in a Bokashi Bin?

Avoid putting in bulky, non-food items such as cut flowers, compostable plastics, used tissues and food-contaminated paper. They take up space and won't add much value to your soil.

Can you put mouldy bread in a Bokashi Bin?

While rotten and mouldy foods will ferment in a Bokashi bucket, the spores can be bad for your health. So leave them out your indoor composter. 

Can you put tea bags in a Bokashi?

Tea bags don't tend to fully degrade due to the small plastic content. 

How often should you drain a BoKashi Bin?

Every 2 to 3 days. And add some sugar to feed to microbes (4 tablespoons).

Here's why UK gardeners are raving about bokashi bins:

  • Indoor Alchemy: Keep your composting undercover, even in a flat! Ideal for cities and chilly climes.
  • Speedy Success: Fertilise your soil in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods.
  • Waste Warrior: Divert food scraps from landfill, reducing your carbon footprint and enriching your patch.
  • Odourless Oasis: No more nose-wrinkling odours – just a tangy, pickled aroma like fermented cabbage.
  • Nutrient Ninja: Bokashi compost is teeming with beneficial microbes, boosting plant growth and soil health.
  • Versatility Unleashed: Use it in soil mixes, top-dress your lawn, or brew tea for thirsty houseplants.

Ready to unleash the pickling power of bokashi? Here's what you need:

  • A handy bokashi bin: Choose from airtight buckets, sleek countertop caddies, or even DIY contraptions.
  • Bokashi bran: This magical mix of bran inoculated with friendly bacteria gets the party started.
  • Scrappy enthusiasm: Collect all your kitchen scraps, from fruit peels to coffee grounds, and toss them in!

It's that simple! Start reaping the benefits of bokashi composting today and watch your garden thrive with turbocharged, odour-free fertiliser. So ditch the smelly heaps and say hello to the future of composting!


Bonus Tip: Check out UK-based bokashi suppliers and online communities for more tips, tricks, and bokashi bin bargains!

Conquer the Seasons: Gardening Guide 2024


Conquer the Seasons: Your Month-by-Month Gardening Guide 2024

Your garden transforms throughout the year, each month offering unique opportunities to nurture and coax your green haven to life. This comprehensive guide equips you with monthly top tips to navigate the changing seasons, from cozy winter tasks to the triumphant arrival of spring and summer fun.

What months are best for Gardening?

All year round there is something to do in the garden. Spring and Autumn/Fall are your best planting periods. March - May & July - September. 

How do you spend time in your garden in winter?

  1. Bird feeders and Water Baths 
  2. Make a snow angel?
  3. Light up your patch with lanterns
  4. Add some colour
  5. Try a firepit for outdoor heating

 What grows all year round in UK?

Broccoli, Brussels, Sprouts, Cabbages, Kale, Leaks and Parsnips.

What's a winter garden?

Hardy plants that thrive in bitter cold will do well in a winter garden. If you're looking for a low-maintenance garden, this could be for you. Try Boxwood, Winterberry and Witch Hazel. Pair these with Garlic, Onions, Brussel Sprouts, Spinach and Leaks for a range of plants and vegetables. 

What plant grows fastest in winter?

  • Herbs - instant growth to 8 weeks
  • Baby Carrots - 4 to 8 weeks
  • Kale - 4 to 8 weeks
  • Tomatoes - 10 to 12 weeks
  • Lettuce - 6 to 14 weeks
  • Peas - 9 to 11 weeks


December: Snuggle Up, Garden Sleeps

  • Embrace the slumber: Don't fret about bare branches and quiet beds. This is nature's time for rest and replenishment.
  • Clear the stage: Rake fallen leaves to prevent disease and pests, but leave some piles for overwintering wildlife.
  • Compost crunch: Gather fallen leaves and kitchen scraps for rich homegrown fertiliser – your future garden will thank you.
  • Mulch matters: Protect vulnerable beds with a cozy layer of bark or straw, offering insulation against frost and a haven for beneficial insects.
  • Plan for spring: Seed catalogs become your winter companions. Browse and order your favorites for early sowing, letting dreams of vibrant blooms and juicy harvests fill the chilly days.
  • Insulate your taps: Avoid the freeze by protecting pipes and taps and turning off the mains supply.
  • Feeding Birds: Hang fat balls, and top up bird feeders. 


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January: Dreaming of Green Dreams

  • Potting party: Start seeds indoors for early blooms of pansies, violas, and lettuce. Imagine them gracing your doorstep as winter loosens its grip.
  • Prune with purpose: While trees and shrubs slumber, it's the perfect time to shape them. Remove deadwood and overgrown branches for a neater, healthier garden come spring.
  • Tool TLC: Give your trusty tools some love. Clean and sharpen them to avoid spring-time rust and ensure they're ready to tackle the season's tasks.
  • Soil secrets: Unravel the mysteries of your soil. Test its pH to ensure optimal nutrient levels for spring planting. Knowing your soil is like understanding your garden's language.
  • Planter prep: Refresh and clean containers for upcoming balcony beauties. Imagine vibrant herbs and cascading flowers adorning your outdoor space as the days become longer.
  • Feed the Birds: Keep bird feeders and water bowls topped up. Add fresh water and clear any ice.
  • Harvest your Winter Veg: Parsnips, Swede, Sprouts, Turnips and Leaks.


February: Seeds of Hope

  • Sow indoors: Continue the indoor seed party! Peppers, tomatoes, and herbs eagerly await their turn to bring life to your garden.
  • Force some bulbs: Bring a touch of magic indoors. Narcissus, hyacinths, or paperwhites will reward you with fragrant, early blooms, chasing away winter's blues.
  • Tidy up beds: Remove any lingering debris and top-dress with fresh compost. Prepare the stage for your spring stars to shine.
  • Prepare for planting: Start chitting potatoes for an early harvest – the race to the first homegrown spud is on!
  • Build anticipation: Research new plant varieties and garden layouts. Let your imagination paint vibrant pictures of your future summer oasis.



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March: Spring Awakens

  • Seedling shuffle: Harden off your indoor seedlings – gradually expose them to outdoor temperatures, preparing them for their grand entrance into the garden.
  • Planting power: As the soil warms, sow hardy vegetables like spinach, radishes, and peas directly outdoors. Witness the magic of life bursting forth from tiny seeds.
  • Prune with precision: Cut back deadwood and overgrown branches from shrubs and trees. Give them a fresh start for the new season.
  • Weed warrior: Early weeds steal resources from your precious plants. Nip them in the bud to prevent them from taking over.
  • Welcome butterflies: Plant nectar-rich flowers like lavender and butterfly bush. Attract these fluttering friends and add a touch of whimsy to your garden.


April: Green Glory Explodes

  • Planting frenzy: It's a symphony of sowing! Direct sow a wide range of vegetables, herbs, and flowers outdoors. Let your garden become a canvas of vibrant colors and delicious possibilities.
  • Divide and conquer: Split perennials that have become overcrowded. Share the bounty with friends or expand your own floral horizons.
  • Mulch madness: Apply a fresh layer of mulch. It's a garden hero, conserving moisture, suppressing weeds, and keeping the soil cool.
  • Watering wisdom: Deeply water new plantings and seedlings, especially during dry spells. Give them a helping hand as they establish themselves in their new home.
  • Enjoy the bounty: Start harvesting early greens and salad leaves. Savor the taste of fresh, homegrown goodness – the reward for your dedication.


May: Garden Grandeur

  • Deadhead delights: Remove spent flowers to prolong blooming and encourage new buds. Your garden will be a vibrant tapestry of colour all summer long.
  • Support squad: Install stakes or trellises for climbing vegetables and tall flowers. Give them the guidance they need to reach their full potential.
  • Compost calling: Keep that compost heap going! Add kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and spent plants to create nutrient-rich gold for your future crops.


June: Sun-Kissed Harvest

  • Weed warfare: Stay vigilant against weeds. They're relentless competitors for your precious resources. Regular weeding ensures your plants thrive.
  • Watering wisdom: Monitor soil moisture, especially during hot spells. Deeply water established plants to encourage strong root growth.
  • Pickling paradise: June is prime time for preserving! Pickle cucumbers, relish juicy tomatoes, and jam summer berries. Capture the season's bounty for winter enjoyment.
  • Pinch and prune: Continue pinching herbs and deadheading flowers for continuous blooms and harvests. Your garden will be a never-ending buffet for pollinators and you.


July: Summer Symphony

  • Weed warfare: Stay vigilant against weeds. They're relentless competitors for your precious resources. Regular weeding ensures your plants thrive.
  • Watering wisdom: Monitor soil moisture, especially during hot spells. Deeply water established plants to encourage strong root growth.
  • Pickling paradise: June is prime time for preserving! Pickle cucumbers, relish juicy tomatoes, and jam summer berries. Capture the season's bounty for winter enjoyment.
  • Pinch and prune: Continue pinching herbs and deadheading flowers for continuous blooms and harvests. Your garden will be a never-ending buffet for pollinators and you.


August: Bounty Bonanza

  • Harvest galore: Enjoy the peak of the summer harvest! Pick juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and plump berries. Share the bounty with friends and family, or preserve the goodness for winter.
  • Divide and conquer: Split perennials that have bloomed and are starting to spread. Share the extra plants with friends or expand your floral kingdom.
  • Plant for fall: Sow seeds for cool-season crops like kale, spinach, and lettuce. Get ready to extend your harvest into the cooler months.
  • Water wisely: Even with regular rain, monitor soil moisture for established plants, especially during dry spells. Deep watering encourages strong root growth and keeps them thriving.


September: Autumnal Abundance

  • Harvesting heroes: Continue harvesting summer crops and welcome the arrival of fall favorites like pumpkins, squashes, and apples. Savour the changing flavours of the season.
  • Planting for the future: Plant garlic and shallots for next year's harvest. These underground treasures will reward you with flavorful additions to your kitchen.
  • Bulb bonanza: Plant spring-blooming bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. Imagine the vibrant burst of color they'll bring when winter loosens its grip.
  • Compost calling: Keep that compost heap going! Add fall leaves and spent plants to fuel your soil for next year's garden. Nature's recycling system at its finest.

October: Cozy Comfort

  • Leaf logic: Don't fear the falling leaves! Shred and compost them for nutrient-rich mulch, or leave them in piles for overwintering wildlife.
  • Prepare for winter: Insulate tender plants with straw or mulch to protect them from the first frosts. Help them weather the winter and emerge strong in spring.
  • Clean and store: Clean and store garden tools and equipment before winter sets in. A little TLC now will save you time and frustration come spring.
  • Bird bonanza: Attract feathered friends with feeders filled with sunflower seeds and suet. Witness the flurry of activity and enjoy the winter songbirds' cheerful melodies.


November: Rest and Rejuvenate

  • Prune with purpose: While trees and shrubs rest, it's the perfect time to prune them for next year's growth. Remove deadwood and overgrown branches for a neater, healthier garden.
  • Plan for perfection: Take time to reflect on the past year's successes and challenges. Use this knowledge to plan your dream garden for next season.
  • Seed dreams: Browse seed catalogs and order your favorites for early sowing indoors. Let your imagination bloom with the promise of spring.
  • Cozy contentment: Enjoy the quiet beauty of your winter garden. Bundle up, grab a hot drink, and watch the snowflakes fall. Nature's rest is a reminder of the vibrant life that will return in the spring.


This monthly guide is your roadmap to a thriving garden throughout the year. Remember, gardening is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the changing seasons.


Wormery vs. Compost Bin: Which is best for Gardeners?


Wormery vs. Compost Bin: Unraveling the Debate for Eco-Conscious Gardeners

In the realm of eco-friendly gardening practices, composting stands as a beacon of sustainability. But amidst the array of composting methods, two stand out as the frontrunners: wormeries and traditional compost bins. While both aim to transform organic waste into nutrient-rich soil amendments, they differ in their processes, outcomes, and suitability for various gardening scenarios.

Is a hot composter faster than worms?

Due to the increased heat allowed in a hot composter and without the need to keep worms alive at lower temperatures, a hot composter can be faster to decompose waste. 

What composter is best for dog poo?

Both will give you liquid you can dilute and feed to pot plants. Compost bins are good for creating soil you can use in the garden; worm farms can be used for cat and dog poo.

Is worm composting smelly?

Expect a good, earthy smell. It shouldn't smell much different than rich garden soil. You might expect worm waste to smell, but it simply isn't the case.

What are the top mistakes of having a worm farm?

  1. Mistake #1: Overfeeding
  2. Mistake #2: Too Wet or Too Dry Composting Bedding
  3. Mistake #3: Wrong Food
  4. Mistake #4: Too Hot or Too Cold
  5. Mistake #5: Forget to Harvest Worm Castings

How often do worms breed?

27 days from mating to laying eggs. Worms can double in population every 60 days.

Key differences of hot composters and wormeries?

  • Due to worms’ highly specialized digestive process, their waste contains bacteria and enzymes not present in compost. This is a more concentrated product of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Worms can specialise in nutrients: 
    • Bacterial-dominant castings and compost are best-suited for annuals and grasses
    • Fungal-dominated castings and compost provide the most value to perennials and woody plants (e.g., trees and vines).


Wormeries: A Microcosm of Nature's Recycling Magic

At the heart of a wormery lies an army of tiny red wiggler worms, tirelessly devouring food scraps and other organic matter. These tireless workers break down organic matter into a rich, fertile compost called vermicompost. Unlike traditional compost bins that rely on heat and oxygen, wormeries thrive in a moist, neutral pH environment, making them ideal for indoor use or for those with limited space.


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Benefits and Drawback of Wormeries.

Pros of Wormeries:

  • Compact and Space-Efficient: Wormeries are typically smaller and more manageable than traditional compost bins, making them suitable for apartment dwellers or those with limited outdoor space.
  • Faster Composting Cycle: Wormeries produce compost much quicker than traditional compost bins, often within a few months.
  • High-Quality Vermicompost: Vermicompost is considered to be of superior quality compared to traditional compost, containing higher levels of nutrients and beneficial microorganisms.
  • Less Odor: Wormeries generate minimal odor due to their controlled environment and the absence of odorous decomposition processes.

Cons of Wormeries:

  • More Demanding Maintenance: Wormeries require more frequent monitoring and adjustments to ensure optimal conditions for the worms.
  • Limited Waste Input: Wormeries can only process a certain amount of organic matter, making them unsuitable for large amounts of food scraps or yard waste.
  • More Sensitive to Environmental Factors: Wormeries are more susceptible to disruptions in temperature, moisture, and pH balance, which can affect worm activity and compost quality.

Traditional Compost Bins: A Versatile Composting Option

Traditional compost bins provide a larger and more versatile option for composting organic waste. They typically consist of open bins or tumblers, allowing for air circulation and natural decomposition by microorganisms. These bins can handle a wider range of organic materials, including yard waste, food scraps, and even some non-organic items like shredded paper.



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Benefits and Drawback of Composters

Pros of Traditional Compost Bins:

  • Handles Larger Volumes: Traditional compost bins can accommodate larger volumes of organic waste, making them suitable for households with more food scraps or yard waste.
  • Versatile Material Breakdown: Traditional compost bins can break down a wider range of organic materials, including yard waste, food scraps, and some non-organic items.
  • Less Maintenance: Traditional compost bins require less frequent monitoring and adjustments than wormeries.
  • Nourishes Beneficial Microorganisms: Traditional compost bins provide a habitat for beneficial microorganisms that play a crucial role in nutrient cycling.

Cons of Traditional Compost Bins:

  • Slower Composting Cycle: Traditional compost bins typically take longer to produce finished compost, often around 1-2 years.
  • Odour Emissions: During the composting process, traditional compost bins may emit some odor, especially in the initial stages.
  • Larger Footprint: Traditional compost bins occupy more space, making them less suitable for small gardens or limited outdoor areas.

Choosing what's best for you, worms or no worms?

The choice between a wormery and a traditional compost bin depends on individual needs and preferences. For those seeking a compact and space-saving solution with faster compost production and high-quality vermicompost, a wormery is an excellent choice. However, for those with larger quantities of organic waste, a traditional compost bin offers a more versatile and robust composting option. Ultimately, the best choice aligns with the individual's composting goals, available space, and lifestyle factors.

Whether you opt for a wormery or a traditional compost bin, both methods contribute to sustainable gardening practices, reducing household waste, and enriching soil health. By embracing these eco-friendly techniques, gardeners can foster a harmonious relationship with nature while cultivating thriving gardens.

Treecycle: How to compost your Christmas tree in 5 easy steps


Treecycle: How to compost your Christmas tree in 5 easy steps

As the festive season comes to an end, it's time to bid farewell to your beloved Christmas tree. But instead of tossing it out with the rubbish, why not give it a new purpose by composting it? Not only is it an eco-friendly way to dispose of your tree, but it also provides valuable nutrients for your garden. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the easy process of treecycling – turning your xmas tree into nutrient-rich compost in just 5 simple steps. Say goodbye to waste and hello to a greener planet with our guide on how to compost your Christmas tree.

Can I compost a Xmas tree?

Christmas trees make an excellent base for compost. For best results remove needles as these can slow down the decompostion.

Can you put a Christmas tree In the garden waste bin?

A shredded xmas tree can easily go into your compost, however, without this prep work it could take years to compost. 

Can I burn an Xmas tree?

NO. A fresh tree will be holding a fair amount of water unless you have neglected it and let it brown whilst decorating for Christmas. If put in the fire the sap can combust and spit out causing a hazard. The oils can flame up chimneys as well as furniture. Creosote is also a highly flammable and corrosive substance created from the gasses from wet wood. Recycle your trees, compost your trees. 


1) Understanding the Importance of Composting Your Christmas Tree

As the festive season draws to a close, many of us are left with a beautiful Christmas tree that has brought joy and festive cheer to our homes. However, instead of simply getting rid of it, why not recycle it through composting? Composting your Christmas tree is not only an environmentally friendly way to dispose of it, but it also provides valuable nutrients for your garden. By turning your tree into nutrient-rich compost, you can give it a new purpose and contribute to a greener planet. In this section, we'll explore the importance of composting your Christmas tree and how it benefits both the environment and your garden. So, let's begin our treecycling journey!


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2) Preparing Your Christmas Tree for Composting

Before you begin the treecycling process, it's important to properly prepare your Christmas tree for composting. Start by removing all ornaments, tinsel, and lights from the tree. Make sure to also remove any tree stands or metal hooks. Next, use a saw or an axe to cut the tree into smaller pieces. This will help speed up the decomposition process. If your tree is heavily flocked or has artificial snow, it's best to skip composting as these chemicals can be harmful to your plants. By taking these simple steps, you'll be ready to transform your holiday tree into nutrient-rich compost and give it a second life.

3) The Step-by-step Guide to Composting Your Christmas Tree

Once you've properly prepared your Christmas tree, it's time to dive into the step-by-step process of composting. First, find a suitable location in your garden to set up your composting area. Next, create a base layer of brown materials, such as dried leaves or twigs, to help with airflow and drainage. Then, add a layer of green materials, such as the chopped-up pieces of your tree, to provide nitrogen-rich ingredients. Alternate between layers of brown and green materials until your compost heap is about three feet tall. Make sure to water your compost regularly and turn it every few weeks to promote decomposition. With a little patience and care, you'll have nutrient-rich compost ready to use in your garden come next holiday season.


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4) Top Tips for Successful Composting

Now that you're ready to compost your Christmas tree, here are some top tips to ensure successful results. First and foremost, remember to recycle as much as possible. Not only are you diverting waste from landfills, but you're also contributing to the health of your garden. Secondly, ensure that your compost heap has the right balance of brown and green materials. This will provide the necessary nutrients for decomposition. Additionally, regularly water and turn your compost to promote airflow and speed up the process. Lastly, be patient – composting takes time, so allow several months for your tree to fully break down into nutrient-rich compost. Happy composting!

5) The Many Uses of Your Tree Compost

As the leaves begin to fall and create a colourful carpet in our gardens, it's important to recognise that these fallen leaves can actually become a wildlife paradise. Autumn leaves provide an abundance of resources for a variety of creatures, making this season an excellent time to embrace the beauty of nature and create a haven for wildlife in your garden.
Firstly, fallen leaves offer shelter for insects and small mammals. They create the perfect hiding spots and provide protection from predators and harsh weather conditions. By leaving certain areas of your garden untouched, you can create safe havens for creatures like beetles, spiders, and hedgehogs.
In addition to providing shelter, autumn leaves also serve as a valuable food source. Many insects and other invertebrates rely on leaf litter for sustenance. As the leaves break down, they release essential nutrients into the soil, supporting the growth of microorganisms and providing a feast for earthworms, beetles, and other decomposers.
If you want to take it a step further, consider creating leaf piles in your garden. These leaf piles not only provide additional shelter, but they also become hotspots for foraging birds and small mammals. By piling up leaves in a designated area, you can create a buffet for hungry creatures, while adding an element of natural beauty to your garden.

All You Need To Know About Worm Composting

[caption id="attachment_287" align="alignleft" width="1000"]Wormeries in Many Colours Wormeries in Many Colours![/caption]



What is a wormery?
A ‘worm composter’ or ‘wormery’ usually consists of at least two compartments, namely a lower collection sump for the liquid and an upper composting area where the kitchen waste goes in and the worms actively work. However, single compartment wormeries can be also used.
The worms used for worm composting are known by various names; brandling, manure, red or tiger worms. These include the species Eisenia foetida, E. andreii and Dendrabaena veneta. Composting 'tiger' worms live in decaying organic matter, whereas earthworms are soil dwellers. They are smaller and darker red than the common earthworm (lumbricus terrestris), which is unsuitable for using in worm composting.

Starting a wormery
A wormery is relatively easy to establish, although a few points need to be considered.

Conditions required
Worms are most active in warm moist conditions, ideally between 18-25ºC (64-77ºF).
Their activity noticeably declines below 10ºC (50ºF) and above 30ºC (86ºF).
A wormery should be kept in a shed or a sheltered area of the garden where it gets neither too cold in the winter nor too hot in the summer.
If thinking about keeping wormeries in the kitchen, utility room or on the balcony, consider that when neglected they can sometimes produce odours.
Composting worms prefer a pH of between 6.5-7.0, and well-ventilated conditions to live in.
They will not tolerate extreme acidity and dislike being waterlogged because this restricts their supply of air.

Using your wormery

  1. In the bottom, place an 8cm (3¼in) layer of moist ‘bedding material’ such as old compost or coir if it is provided by the supplier. This creates a humid layer in which the worms can burrow and begin to digest their food.

  2. Now add the composting worms.

  3. Cover with no more than 8-10cm (3¼-4in) layer of kitchen waste and leave for about one week to allow the worms time to settle into their new environment.

Feeding the worms (adding waste)
For best results, add small amounts of waste often to the wormery.
Chop the waste into smaller pieces so it can be eaten faster.
Place the food on the top of the compost.
Alternatively, bury the food within the compost to create feeding pockets.
If the waste is not being eaten, feeding should be stopped for a few days until the worms start to work through the top layer of the composting material.
Avoid adding more waste than the worms can cope with.

What to compost
Worms enjoy a varied diet eating any decaying organic matter.
You can put in;

  • Any raw vegetables, except for onions, shallots, leeks and garlic that are best used in small amounts or cooked first

  • Any cooked vegetables

  • All fruit, except citrus peel, which needs to be limited or preferably cooked before adding

  • Tea bags, eggshells, coffee grounds and small amounts of bread

  • Limited amounts of newspaper, shredded office paper and cardboard, but not glossy magazines

  • Small amounts of garden waste such as annual weeds, leaves and other soft green material

Remember: Fruit and vegetable scraps that contain seeds can be included but the seeds may germinate in the wormery.

What to avoid

  • Dairy products, fat, grease, meat, fish and bones as these are likely to attract unwanted pests and flies.

  • Larger quantities of tough leaves and woodier material as it will slow the system down.

If there is a lot of garden waste, which could overload the wormery, it is often best to have an ordinary compost heap as well.

Organic waste usually has a high moisture content. If the lid is kept on, dry conditions are unlikely to occur. Add water only if the wormery appears dry.
An established wormery can be left without the addition of food for up to four weeks. However, the liquid may accumulate which needs to be drained off to avoid waterlogging.
Occasionally fork the compost over gently with a hand fork to check that the worms are present and healthy.

Ways to increase the rate of composting
Aim to provide and maintain the desired temperature especially during the winter months.
Add extra worms (see below for suppliers) to the existing population.
Avoid overloading the wormery with waste.
Wormeries with a greater surface area will also work faster.
Use worm compost and liquid.

Emptying the wormery
Wormeries are usually emptied when they are full; this takes about 8 to 12 months. You must separate the worms before using the compost.
The worms tend to congregate in the area just below the top layer of food waste. Simply remove the top 20cm (8in) layer and use it to restart the wormery again.

Alternatively, if the weather is warm and dry, spread the contents of the wormery thinly over a polythene sheet. Cover the centre of the compost with layer of wet newspaper. As the compost dries, the worms will move towards the cool, moist compost under the newspaper from where they can be collected. Once emptied and the worms separated, the wormery can be filled with a new layer of bedding, the worms returned.

Many wormeries use stacking trays for the worms to work up through. The finished compost is in the bottom tray and can be removed. The tray is then emptied and returned to the top of the stack. This makes sorting the worms unnecessary.

Worm compost and liquid – how to use
The worm compost can be used as a general soil conditioner or as a constituent of homemade growing media. It is generally rich in nitrogen and potassium.
The liquid drained from wormeries can be used as a liquid fertiliser on garden plants after diluting with water at a rate of 1 part liquid to 10 parts water. Its nutrient composition will vary.

Some wastes have strong odours, which can attract flies (termed fruit flies) that are harmless, but can be a nuisance. This problem can be avoided by burying the new waste in the decomposed material or covering it with a layer of damp newspaper. Do not use chemicals to control the flies as it could harm the worms.

If too much waste is added for the worms to cope with then the wormery may start to smell. This could also attract flies and possibly vermin. Remove and dispose of excess or undigested food. Wait until the worms start digesting the top layer of food before adding further waste. Another reason for the wormery producing unpleasant odour is if it becomes too wet.

Drain off excess liquid and add some shredded paper or card to absorb excess moisture and increase air circulation. Check if the worms are alive. Dead worms can be a problem especially when left unattended e.g. during holiday breaks. Make sure that the wormery has drainage holes.

If you improve drainage but the smell persists, the conditions may have become slightly too acid for the worms. To correct this, apply a small dressing of calcified seaweed or calcium carbonate (garden lime, ground chalk or ground limestone).

Original Organics are leading suppliers of Wormeries in the UK. In fact, we invented the word 'Wormery'!

You can purchase your Wormery right here at Original Organics.  Just choose a colour!
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