Turning your rubbish into something useful is about as basic as sustainable living gets. But how do you get to grips with composting? Why would you want a worm farm? And what on earth is Bokashi?
The basics of composting
Making your own garden compost is easy, it’s cheap, it’s good for the environment and it reaps free rewards. Almost all organic household and garden waste can go on a compost heap. The resulting compost is jam-packed with nutrients for the garden soil. Composting is made easier, faster and tidier with a compost bin, such as the Tumbleweed Compost Bin.
Clean Up Australia explains that composting needs four things to work well:
Nitrogen: green ingredients, such as kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, weeds
Carbon: brown ingredients, like autumn leaves, branches, hedge clippings
Oxygen: provided by regularly turning the compost
Water: the compost heap should be moist, but not sodden
The only things you shouldn’t compost are meat and dairy products, animal manure, bones, fat, diseased plants, metals, plastic and glass.
What is Bokashi?
Bokashi is a fermentation process that turns kitchen waste into soil fertiliser. A Japanese term that means “fermented organic matter”, the Bokashi composting method uses fermented wheat bran to pickle food waste and help it compost quicker without foul odours.
Kitchen scraps of almost every kind can go into Bokashi buckets: fruit and vegetables, cooked or uncooked meat and fish, cheese, bread, tea bags, coffee grinds – even wilted flowers and tissues. Bokashi Composting Australia sells the Bokashi One Bucket, into which you throw kitchen waste, layered with the Bokashi One Mix, a combination of wheat bran and rice husks infused with EM (Effective Micro-organisms).
Why a worm farm?
Setting up a worm farm is the next step in an eco-friendly garden, once you’ve got your composter up and running.
Living Greener explains that a worm farm is another way to turn organic waste into nutrient-rich fertiliser. The worms eat the waste and turn it into liquid fertiliser and worm castings, both of which are great for the garden and pot plants. Note that worm liquid can replace fertiliser, but it must be diluted until it’s the colour of weak tea.
Starting a worm farm
You can’t, however, just dig up a few worms from your back yard and expect them to get to work producing “worm tea”. The recommended worm types for a farm are Red Wrigglers, Indian Blues and Tiger Worms. Commercial worm growers or a local nursery will sell worms, usually by the thousand – you need between 1,000 and 2,000 to start the farm.
The easiest way to start your farm is to buy a container for it, such as the Can-O-Worms. Once the worm farm is set up, position it in a shady spot – direct sunlight is not recommended.