Composting - Help

Hi everyone, I need some help with composting solution.

Given how much vege and fruit scraps we produce at home I am trying to find the best way to produce compost.

I have looked online and with so many options (worms, non-worm, plastic containers, wood containers, aerobin, etc....) I think I am more confused now than before I started looking. :confused:

Thought I'd ask here to see what others are doing and what their experience has been.

We have a decent yard and an outdoor solution would be best. We also have 2 toddlers and need to make sure they don't put their hands into anything.

Anyone ?
 
The simplest setup I've seen is four forklift pallets bolted together, with the front side cut down to half-height and on hinges. Sink a couple of star posts to keep it in shape. Most composters find it easier to have two piles at different stages, so depending on the amount you need, put a partition down the middle or build a second box.

The composting itself depends on your climate and what you have on hand so just check out a few websites or Better Homes & Gardens tips for a starting point and adjust it as you go along.
 
I find worms the most effective in my yard.

You don't need anything fancy.

Go and buy some composting worms (500 should do to start) - available from bunnings etc.

Start off experimenting with a large polystyrene box from the green grocer.

Cut the bottom out of it so you are basically left with the 4 "walls".

Place in a shady part of the yard (avoid direct sun)

Place worms in there, along with vege scraps.
Cover with a layer of soil (prevents flies etc).

Cover place a paver or brick on the soil.

Cover the lot with a heavy cloth or even pruned branches (stops birds going in and having a feast).

You can also use the original lid of the poly box if it came with one, but DO NOT seal it off (killed many workms this way). Have is slightly ajar, and leave a weigh on top so it doesn't blow off.

Every time you have more scraps, simply lift off everything (you should see a pack of worms congregating under the paver/brick).

Put down the next layer of scraps, and another layer of soil.


When it comes time to harvest the casting (worm poo), tip the box up slightly (take off all the weight from the top first!) and use a small fork to get the good stuff from the bottom.

Worms should double in population every 3 months given the right conditions.

Don't make it too wet.

You can start more boxes if you need more throughput. Just take some of the worms from the first box and start over!

Cheers,

The Y-man
 
The easiest way is to collect your scraps in a container, than once a day just dig a hole and bury them. Sometimes potatoes or avocado plants grow which could be a bonus. Your soil becomes really rich and garden worms love it.
 
The simplest setup I've seen is four forklift pallets bolted together, with the front side cut down to half-height and on hinges. Sink a couple of star posts to keep it in shape. Most composters find it easier to have two piles at different stages, so depending on the amount you need, put a partition down the middle or build a second box.

We use a similar set-up to this....we pretty much throw any compostable (is that a word?) material onto the pile. We keep a small bucket in the kitchen for scraps. We also through the lawn clipping and leaves onto the pile. We let it build up until near the top of the fence, then start on the other side....by the time that side is full the other has composted nicely and we use it on the garden. We have never bought worms, but seem to have attracted hundreds!

One thing we have found is little tomato, pumpkin and even avocado plants popping up in our vege/garden bed...we love the surprise of it, and just pull them out if we dont want them growing there. Maybe a longer composting time would stop that happening though?

Great fun! Good luck!
Nadia
 
As Nards said - it's excellent to compost your grass. It does need to sit for a while to destroy the grass seeds. All the fertilizer you put on your grass is then being used again.
 
i inherited one of those black square compost bins with the lid on it. works a treat and everything goes in (except meat and bones) - lawn clippings, kitchen waste etc - although you do have to have a brick on top to keep the lid from blowing away.

i can't believe how much it composts down as i'll near fill it one week when the lawns are going nuts then next week it's down to 1/3 level already.

with the kitchen scraps ... best thing i found was to use a small bucket and line it with two sheets of newspaper. that way it doesn't sit there for too long to get full, and then you just lift the newspaper out by the hanging over corners and drop entire package in the compost bin. the bin doesn't get stinky and dirty either (i pop it in the dishwasher every 3-4 weeks).

between the recycling and the compost i'd be lucky to put two grocery sized bags in the rubbish a week - most weeks just one.
 
with the kitchen scraps ... best thing i found was to use a small bucket and line it with two sheets of newspaper. that way it doesn't sit there for too long to get full, and then you just lift the newspaper out by the hanging over corners and drop entire package in the compost bin. the bin doesn't get stinky and dirty either (i pop it in the dishwasher every 3-4 weeks).

What a great idea. We have one of those little benchtop buckets. It gets filled and emptied at least once most days, but it can get pretty whiffy and messy. Love the newspaper idea ... will be amending the system to add that.
Otherwise, I can vouch for what others say. We have two of the basic black bins and we throw all our green waste in. Occasionally, I add some lime and blood and bone and water to help it all break down.
It also needs to be turned quite often (haven't done that lately actually :rolleyes:), which helps to aerate it and break it down further. I find that, depending on how full it is and what's in there, I sometimes don't have the strength to turn it and have to get hubby to do it. Would love an aerobin, but I think they're about $350.
 
I just give all the scraps to the chooks - and we get eggs back :D

We waste a lot of food. Just this morning I've filled requests for chocolate, biscuits, cereal, sausages and cheese and all that got eaten was the cheese, a few bites of the sausage and the cereal. Blasted toddlers.
 
Thanks everyone for helping me out here as we embark on our composting journey.

I think I will start small and build. Although I do also like the aerobin. At $350 seems a little expensive now. Maybe not as I get stuck into it.

Thanks again to everyone for their input here.
 
Knowing my limitations, I knew I would not be going out digging over compost heaps, so I purchased a compost bin that you spin around.
Cost about 3-4 times as much as a similar sized non-spinning tub to begin with, but works a treat. Fill it with kitchen scraps and lawn trimmings. When you fill it, give it a spin (easy) to aerate the contents.

Only thing is, would work better if I had two of them (for same reasons as listed above).

Lizzie- love your newspaper idea.

:)
Caroline
 
we had problems putting lawn clippings into the compost bin. Its been a while now, but i think it causes the temperature to go too high, or going mouldy. Ours always just ended up getting smelly and yukky. So, I would only put a small amount of clippings in at one time.

Pen
 
Composting lawn clippings is silly. Why not just mulch it back into the lawn for flips sake?...!!! It makes for a thick rich lawn that needs less fertilizer and rain to keep green and lush.

Composting lawn clippings is for nutcases. I have a few acres of lawn and have never ever picked any up and never will, let alone compost the stuff.


See ya's.
 
You people with enough water to waste on lawns confuse me.

I have nice white quartz gravel out the front with lomandras sticking out of it that I never water, and grey gravel out the back (over where a very large shed used to be so the ground is kinda like rock and has oil soaked into it in patches) that also doesn't need watering :p

I'm going to grow pavers in the new house. They don't need watering or mowing either.
 
we throw all of our rubbish in the rubbish bin , i am not convinced that its worth the time and effort to produce our own veggies or eggs,
 
Thanks everyone for helping me out here as we embark on our composting journey.

I think I will start small and build. Although I do also like the aerobin. At $350 seems a little expensive now. Maybe not as I get stuck into it.

Thanks again to everyone for their input here.

We have an aero bin, but its prime function is not to "compost" in the sense of decomposition. As penny said, it's design is to generate high heat inside it (you should see the steam that comes out of it when opening in the morning) in order to kill weed seeds.

This way, if you want to use the lawn clippings as mulch on flower/vege beds, you won't get weeds popping up. Not much point putting food scraps through IMO..... (you'll end up with dried scraps)

Cheers,

The Y-man
 
Thanks Y-Man ... I have taken the first step !!!
 

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