Healthy soil is the foundation of a productive garden full of healthy plants that are less prone to disease. Adding organic matter to your soil in the form of compost or vermicast is one of the best things you can do. When you improve your soil with compost it just keeps getting better and better - it becomes more alive with beneficial worms and microorganisms. The other bonus is that you reduce your waste by recycling your food scraps and plant  materials into compost.


Composting or Worm Farm  – which is best for me?  


If you don’t have much space a worm farm is a great option: A worm farm doesn't smell if looked after  properly and can fit on a balcony, garage or even inside.  The benefits of worm farms include they:  

  • Produce liquid and solid castings, both of which can  be mixed with water to produce a liquid fertilizer  
  • Take up very little space  
  • Are great for using food scraps and kitchen waste  

The limitations can be they:  

  • Can process a limited amount of waste which may  not be enough for large families  
  • Are better for vegetable scraps and soft  vegetation, are not so good for garden waste  




Most composting requires more space than  worm farming, although rotating compost  tumblers can also be used in relatively small  spaces on any surface. Preferably set up composting on bare earth.

 Benefits of Composting Include:  

  • A larger variety & volume of  materials can be used  including garden waste  
  • If you have enough ‘waste’  go for both compost and worms!  
  • If you have enough space consider getting chickens as well, as they can be an even faster converter of food waste - they also give you  healthy, home-grown, organic, free range eggs.  

Compost basics  

Composting is the aerobic (using oxygen) breakdown  of organic matter by beneficial micro-organisms like  bacteria and fungi.  What can we use to make compost? The rule of thumb is  ‘Anything that once lived can turn into compost’  

Use the A.D.A.M Principles  while composting 

  • A - Aliveness – compost is a ‘living  organism’ full of worms & healthy  microbes 
  • D - Diversity – mix in a variety of  ingredients: eg food scraps, dry  leaves, fine wood, mulch, grass, hair,  herbs etc. 
  • A - Aeration aerate your compost  regularly, with a spiral mixing tool 
  • M- Moisture keep compost moist  at all times 

 Setting up & MANAGING the bin/heap 

  1.  Position the bin in a well drained  place (sun or shade is OK) 
  2.  Put a layer in the base of the bin,  about 200-300mm (4”-6”) deep,  of high carbon material, i.e. finely  chopped woody mulch, leafy twiggy  materials or ‘forest fines.’ 
  3.  Water this layer well 
  4.  Add 2 or 3 shovel-fulls of rich  compost, or lovely black, alive soil  from your garden. This ‘seeds’ your  compost with the aliveness that does  all the work
  5. For every addition of food scraps,  add the same amount of ‘forest fines’  or chopped small woody twigs and  leaves, ie 1 bucket of food scraps to  1 bucket of mulch  
  6.  Mix with a spiral tool and check  that the entire heap is moist 
  7.  Food scraps must not be left  exposed on the surface. Always  cover surface with a thin layer of  ‘forest fines’ or chopped small woody  twigs and leaves, this reduces  flies. Then cover the surface with a  ‘blanket’ (eg hessian sack) to keep  the heap moist & dark 
  8.  Add other ingredients regularly  eg manures, vacuum contents, hair,  herbs, weeds, grass, soil 
  9.  Add a teaspoon of dolomite  ( Worm Farm & Compost Conditioner)  weekly, to balance acidity 
  10.  When your bin is full it needs to  mature for 6-8 weeks. Keep this  maturing bin moist & mix it and  add a little dolomite and pelletised  manure, weekly 
  11.  You can start a new bin for your  continuing supply of fresh food  scraps once your old one is full. 

 Using Compost 

  • Compost is ready to use when it  is dark & smells earthy (there is no  sharp ammonia smell) 
  •  Place the compost around the  DRIP-LINE of plants 
  •  Keep the compost away from the  stems of plants 

Compost problem solver

Below are three of the most common  problems people have with their compost:  

Problem 1:

 Remedy:  Increase AERATION 

  •  Add more coarse material 
  •  Mix the heap much more regularly  with a spiral mixing tool 
  •  Add a handful of dolomite, ( Worm  Farm & Compost Conditioner)

Problem 2:


  •  Add more NITROGEN material eg  manures, young grass clippings,  blood & bone etc 
  •  Check the MOISTURE level ( dry heaps don’t heat up!) add  more water when mixing 
  •  Mix the heap more regularly  with spiral mixing tool 
  •  Add a handful of dolomite, ( Worm  Farm & Compost Conditioner) 

Problem 3:


  • Put small mesh chicken wire on the  ground under compost bin and fold  up the sides and tie, or place a piece  of flat gal metal sheet on ground  (drill 50 or more drainage holes)  and place bin on top of metal sheet. 
  • Always cover the surface of the heap  with a hessian sack or something  similar & keep the lid on 
  • Mix the heap more regularly with a  spiral mixing tool to increase aeration  (vermin do not like a disturbance!) 
  • Keep the heap moist (vermin do not  like a damp environment!) 
  • Add a handful of dolomite ( Worm  Farm & Compost Conditioner) 
  • Reduce the amount of cooked meat  and bread being added to the heap