Composting and Worm Farms

Home composting and worm farming are excellent ways to reuse household kitchen waste and reduce the amount of organic matter going to landfill.

Organic matter rotting in landfill is a key source of methane gas, and also creates a risk of groundwater impact from landfill leachate.

Composting

This is the process of turning food scraps and organic garden waste into a soil-like product which may be used as a fertiliser and soil amendment.

The simplest form of composting involves making a wetted pile consisting of layers of organic matter, allowing micro-organisms to naturally break it down into humus.

To help your compost heap break down it will periodically require turning and re-wetting to keep up the oxygen and moisture to encourage the micro-organisms to flourish and do their job.

There are also several types of commercially compost bins and tumblers available.

Successful composting requires the right balance of ingredients:

  • Carbon – ‘brown’ things such as straw, dry leaves and sawdust
  • Nitrogen – ‘green’ things such as lawn clippings, veggie scraps, and leafy tree pruning
  • Oxygen
  • Moisture.

Worm farming

Worm farming involves keeping worms in a container and feeding them organic materials such as your kitchen veggie scraps. The worms turn this into worm castings and ‘worm wee’ which are rich sources of nutrients and can be used to feed your garden.

Specific breeds of worms (such as Tiger and Red Wriggler) are used in worm farms, as these breeds are very efficient at eating their way through scraps.

Worm farms are available for purchase at places such as hardware stores and are also easily assembled from reused materials, such as the polystyrene boxes that vegetables are delivered in which can be picked up from your local greengrocer.

Worm farms and compost tumblers are also easy to come across second hand, on road verge pick ups or you can make them yourself.

See links in the ‘Useful Resources and Programs’ section for further information on composting and worm farming.

More information and contact

Visit the R-gang website for information on on home composting and worm farming, including resources for the general community and schools.