YES. Absolutely you can fill it with just worm friendly scraps if that is what you prefer, but you will have to separate all your scraps into two piles. I personally don’t have time to fiddle with separating food waste and just toss it all in together. One thing though – you may find the Compot will need emptying more often as the worms try to fill the pot up with soil and their castings. But you will have beautiful compost more regularly to harvest if this is your aim and your Compot will be full of worms.
Depending where you live you might also find that the fresh waste attracts rats so you need to consider this in your particular circumstances. Soaking your waste will deter the rats and other garden critters. They may not be an issue in your garden – it all depends on you individual circumstances. I have found covering the Compot with sugar cane mulch will attract rats. Choose another cover.
The Compot does not fill up as fast with Compost when the soldier fly larvae are at work, as they are always reducing the waste and therefore the contents of the Compot. When the pot is full of Soldier Fly larvae the worms will live in the surrounding soil outside the pot and move around your garden more as long as you keep your soil moist. Try both methods and see the difference for yourself then decide which method you prefer.
NO. But if you want to you can (these are usually special compost worms). Usually, the earthworms will find their way to your Compots but this can sometimes take up to 3 months and depends on the moisture in the rest of your garden and the type of soil you have.
As worms don’t eat food but rather decomposed food, you will not find them in your Compot if you are filling your Compot with all your kitchen waste. Remember you will probably have citrus, onion and other worm nasties in your kitchen waste. This waste has to break down before the worms can eat it. Once it has decomposed the worms will finish it off and make their beautiful compost. But you will only see this when you let one Compot sit for a month without feeding it. When all the other bugs have vacated the worms will move in and fill your pot up with composted soil ready for harvesting.
The Compot relies on the Soldier Fly Larvae doing all the decomposing in the summer months and that is why you will not see worms in your Compots in Summer, and why the contents keep disappearing so rapidly. Come winter time the Compots will slow down because the Soldier Flies may hibernate or disappear (if it is too cold). But don’t worry – come summer time your Compots will spring into action again.
If you choose to only feed your Compots worm friendly scraps only then you will most likely see lots of worms in your Compots and no Soldier Flies. But remember your Compots will not work as quickly and will require more emptying if you are only filling them with worm friendly waste. If you have really bad soil I recommend that you add worms to the surrounding soil outside the pots. See other FAQ’s on how to treat clay or sandy soil
There is no need to water your Compots specifically. When you water your garden water will naturally go into the Compot through the holes and this is a good thing as it will keep the contents nice and moist.
If however, you found your pots were really dry and the waste was not decomposing at all then you might want to add some water to soften the waste to help the decomposition process along. Dry contents can occur when you don’t cover your Compots with leaves, or hay etc because the hot sun gets in, in summer, and dries the contents out dehydrating them rather than decomposing them. Much the same as if you were to throw your waste out onto an open lawn without burying them. The same will happen in winter but this time it is the cold air drying out or freezing the contents.
Of course, this all depends on the climate in your area also. So in summer, covering your Compot keeps the hot air out, while in winter covering your Compot keeps the warm air in and cold air out.
I have also found that if you have super dry soil the Compot may not drain because the soil becomes hydrophobic – much the same as it does on the surface of your garden. In this case if you don’t have water to keep you garden moist then add some detergent in with your waste so it breaks the surface tension of the soil and allows the water to soak into the soil. This is what you would do on the surface of your garden as well. But keeping a good cover on your garden bed will help retain moisture in your soil so you don’t need to water as much. And filling your Compots with ALL your waste and waste water will also add valuable water to your soil that would otherwise be tossed down the drain. But it comes back to time and effort and what you are prepared to do for your garden.
You can fill your Compot with any biodegradable waste from your kitchen. IE: Anything that will break down. EG: Meat, citrus, onions, oil, dairy, eggs, coffee grounds, tea and tea bags, paper towel, old nuts, pasta, bread, cooked food of any sort, wastewater (bio-degradable detergent), milk, cream , yogurt and anything else you can find in your kitchen that you want to throw away, aside from the obvious; glass, plastic, metal etc.
Everything will decompose – even doggie doo (un-medicated preferably unless you are putting this waste by a big tree or unused part of your garden). No doggie doo in your veggie patch.
The time it takes to decompose will just depend on the density of the food, the time of the year, and whether you are relying on all the elements to decompose your waste or just worms.
If you only want to fill your Compot with worm friendly scraps then you need to leave out most of what I just said you could put in the Compot. It’s up to you how you want to use your Compot and what you feed it. But I find it more efficient to fill it with everything. Just do what is best for you. See other tips and tricks about ways to make it work faster.
- It all depends on your point of view. I wouldn’t necessarily say better. Just different for a number of reasons.
- You cannot put meat products, citrus, onions, cooking fats and oils, dairy or animal wastes in a worm farm, but you can put all these and more into the COMPOT.
- Organic matter and worm juice go directly into the soil, so there is no need to empty heavy worm trays or collect the juice. One less chore if you are a busy person.
- Your worms don’t die. They look after themselves in the ground as all worms should.
- You don’t need to add worms unless you have bad soil or simply want to breed worms.
- The worms are not stuck in one place as in a worm farm and therefore nourish and condition your whole garden as they move from pot to pot.
- If soldier flies take over your worm farm (and these are good bugs) they will get rid of all your worms. Come winter time it can be too cold above ground for the soldier flies (and worms) so your worm farm will not be decomposing very efficiently at all and may turn into a smelly mess.
- If the soldier flies take over your worm farm you will lose all your worms, then you need to replace them. But the same problem will occur again unless you can find a place in your garden where the soldier flies don’t seem to go.
- The soldier flies cannot get out of the worm farm when they hatch. This can be annoying for people who hate bugs as they take the lid off and flies fly out. However, in the Compot in the ground – the soldier flies bury out through the soil, mature, fly away, mate, lay their eggs and die. You very rarely see them and you never have to worry about them. Like the worms – they look after themselves.
- If it is a mild winter the soldier flies can stay active inside your COMPOT and work all through the winter, as long as you keep your pot covered to keep the warmth inside the pot.
- Having said all this – if your aim is to collect worm juice then you will need a worm farm or make your own worm juice by soaking the composted contents from your COMPOT in a bucket of water overnight after all the soldier flies and worms have vacated the premises.
Yes. However, I recommend you don’t put animal excrement in a COMPOT close to your vegetable garden. Preferably the excrement should be medication free, so if you have recently wormed your pet do not put this excrement in the COMPOT as it can kill your worms if you are filling your pots up with worm friendly waste only. But if it is beside a large established tree it probably won’t make a whole lot of difference. One trick with your animal waste is to make sure it is wet so it will break down quicker. If the waste is too dry it is much the same as food waste – It has dehydrated and will take longer to break down.
I personally find it works better if you add all your kitchen waste, or even a portion of your kitchen waste, in with your animal waste. This seems to give the Soldier Flies a variety of food to eat. Much like us, they seem to be more efficient with a mixture of contents. Adding your animal waste in with your food waste should also (in most circumstances) deter your dog from digging it up. They usually don’t like the smell of their own excrement or fermented waste. Soak your waste in wastewater for a day or two to ferment it. Toss this fermented waste in with your doggie doos. The two together will deter most dogs. Of course, it all depends on your dog as every dog is different, so you have to know your dog.
Soldier Flies lay eggs outside the Compot in the coverings. They are super tiny so can find their way inside the Compot when they hatch. The larvae will live off the food scraps in the COMPOT devouring the scraps quicker than worms. Any juices from this process go into the surrounding soil where the worms pick it up in the soil.
As they grow and mature they change from soft white larvae (great for your chooks or fish) and become covered in a harder black covering. They bury their way out of the pot through the soil, where they either pupate and fly away or get eaten first by lizards, birds, frogs, and other garden critters.
Soldier Flies are good flies. Do not kill them. They are very high in protein and are fast becoming the food of the future for all our livestock. If you find them in your garden then go “Woo Hoo” because you are lucky. They are there doing all the hard work making the waste ready for the worms and your plants. Learn to love your bugs. They won’t hurt you but they will help you and are so much more efficient at devouring your waste than worms.
I have found that they can make an above ground compost system a bit stinky unless you are using the above ground method that I recommend with the Compot which works differently to other above ground systems. (video on YouTube)
The COMPOTTOP was really just for a bit of fun, but it actually works! And it’s great if you are a part-time gardener or you don’t have space or the equipment to propagate your herbs and seeds. Plus its great fun for the kids as well, and means you can propagate directly in the garden without requiring a big shed or specialized propagating equipment, warming trays etc.
It acts like a greenhouse. The heat from the compost below warms your seeds, keeps the air moist, and protects your seeds from all the external elements and bugs while allowing your seedlings to grow. The seedlings actually grow quicker than if left out in the open air. Try experimenting for yourself to see the difference.
You can water the seedlings without removing the TOP simply by watering the top of the COMPOTTOP. The water seeps down through the holes in the top which also aids the escape of gases produced in the growing process. You do not need to remove the TOP during the growing cycle (unless you want to) until they are big enough to replant in your garden.
However, if you only have one pot and one top, and you want to top up your Compot, you can easily remove the top and lift the lid out of the Compot with the aid of the Lift Pin. Fantastic for growing wheatgrass for juicing – especially in winter. I leave the lift pin in situ when growing wheatgrass as it gets too long to find the hole when you want to lift the lid up.
If using toilet rolls as a way to hold your seeds in place to easily remove when they have sprouted, then you may need to remove the Top to water the seedlings.
Depending on what you are trying to grow it may be easier to use the COMPOTTOP directly in the garden securing it in the ground with the Four Stakes provided. You will be amazed at the results. If you live in a hot climate you may need to propagate in the shade in summer. Like all forms of gardening it can be trial and error – fortunately I have had mainly successes. So experiment for yourself in your environment and climate.
Your Compot should not smell. If you cover your pot with your grass clippings or whatever topping you use in your garden to keep the moisture in your soil, there should be no smell. The covering filters the odours for the first few days. After that, once the Compot has settled there will be no smell – even with prawns. If for some reason this fails to work you may not have covered it properly or you may need to add some cardboard or lime to reduce the smell. I have never had to do this but I do keep my Compot moist.
If you have no grass clippings then try leaves, mulched garden clippings, straw, shredded bamboo, coconut fiber or sugar cane mulch. I am not a fan of sugar cane mulch as I have found it attracts rats. But everyone’s garden and circumstances vary so you need to work out what works in your particular circumstances. Do not cover with dirt as the Compot needs to breathe and I find fake bark is not very good either as it is hard and doesn’t break down.
Another reason it might smell (and everyone’s particular circumstances vary) is you are filling your pot with fresh meat, or mixed waste. Ideally, you should soak all your mixed waste in wastewater (water without detergent that you might be throwing down the drain though you can use water with bio-degradable detergent) when you are collecting it on your kitchen bench. Soaking the waste mingles all the odours, dilutes the odours, begins the decomposition process and (if left long enough covered in the water) will ferment the waste. Worms don’t like this but Soldier Flies do. This will keep the worms outside your Compot and the Soldier Fly Larvae inside the Compot. Do this if you are collecting all your waste in the one container. Don’t do this to fresh waste you might be feeding to your worms if you prefer to use the Compot like an in ground worm farm. I personally don’t find this very efficient but it suits some people.
The other reason your Compot may smell is that it is not draining properly because you have poorly draining soil and it has turned into a sump.
There are a number of ways to fix this:
- Do nothing and eventually, it will sort itself out
- Add some cardboard, Lime or grass clippings to the pot and again let it sit for a few more weeks.
- Remove the pot, dig a deeper hole and fill it with some cheap potting mix perhaps mixed with some sand to allow drainage. Put your pot back in the ground and fill around the pot with the same potting mix and sand. Then add some worms to the outside of your pot. Cover with your chosen garden covering and again allow a bit of time for the pot to drain, bacteria to build up, worms to increase, etc and it will sort itself out. You may find you need to add worms to the surrounding soil around the pot. Over time the worms will move sideways into the clay or sand and improve your soil. This is not an overnight fix but rather a long term strategy that will improve your bad soil.
- Failing that, you may need to move it to a better spot. But try the other methods first especially number 3 as the worms will start to break up your soil and eventually improve the soil over time.
As easy as the Compot is to use it may not suit every situation in your garden. A little trial and error with certain situations will eventually get your Compot working as it should. Otherwise, you need to call me so I can figure out exactly what you are doing or not doing and how to fix it. There is not much that can go wrong. It is generally all solvable. And there is now a way to use your Compot above ground for super fast composting but it will not nourish your soil the same way but it is great waste disposal. (video on YouTube)
See other tips and tricks if you find your Compot smelling, as it should not smell.
NO – for a number of very good reasons……
A larger size takes up too much space in the garden.
This creates a dead space making it visible in your garden.
A large mass takes too long to decompose
It is difficult to remove or mow over
Would cost too much to produce and sell
Could only feed one area in your garden
Would be dangerous if you left the lid off and someone fell in
The lid of the COMPOT is designed to sustain the weight of a 50kg child. Even if an adult stands on it the lid will just push inside. It would require a lot of product to make a large lid strong enough to be safe or it would have to be made out of metal which then causes other problems by leaching copper into the soil which is not safe for your plants.
The COMPOT is the size it is so…..
It can be easily moved by any aged person
Takes up minimal space in a garden
Can be easily disguised so you can’t see it.
Decomposes quicker in small quantities
You can harvest the soil in just one month if you want to
If you spread a few COMPOT’s around your garden you will nourish more parts of your garden without needing to spread compost all the time, and the worms will eventually nourish your whole garden as they move from pot to pot.
Absolutely you can. Be aware though it is very rich as it is concentrated in a small space. Remember to mix it in with other soil so you don’t burn your plants. (As I found out) A hand full or two to roughly a bucket of soil is a rough guide. And water it well after you have put it in the ground to spread the nutrients and dilute any concentrated nutrients.
You can soak this soil in a bucket of water overnight and make worm tea if you want to. I do this when I give my pots a clean out once a year. And it is a great thing to do with bones and big seeds etc to get all the good black soil off them before you toss them in the bin. Or you can crush your bones and spread them through your soil. I strain them through an old strainer once they have soaked overnight and then pour the tea back on the garden.
YES. Plant a Compot in a position in your garden where you want to plant a tree or shrub. Fill your Compot up with all you waste for a month or two. Then let it sit for 2 to 3 weeks. The contents will turn into a big mushy mess. This is perfect as it has half decomposed. Take your pot out of the ground and empty the contents back into the hole in the ground.
Throw some soil on top of this waste – roughly an inch or two and plant your plant on top. The nutrients will then start to break down slowly providing your plant with fertiliser for the next few months. Any critters inside will find their way out or become further compost. It’s a bit like sticking a nutrient bomb below your plant.
See customer comments for a specific comment about this very subject.
If you have a worm farm that you love there is no reason to give it up. Just use the Compot for all the things you can’t put in your worm farm, like meat, citrus, onion, chili, dairy, oil, etc.
If you have a bokashi bucket you still need to bury your waste after it has decomposed. Use a Compot for this waste and move it around your garden every 6 months to a year to nourish different parts of your garden. Or get a couple of Compots planted around your garden so you don’t have to keep digging holes for your Bokashi waste.
The Compot is also great with a Bokashi for all the things you can’t put in a bokashi and also for extra space for your waste if you only have one Bokashi and are waiting for the waste to decompose before you can use it again.
With the Compot you can just keep topping it up whenever you have any waste. You do not need to wait for everything to decompose. Just keep topping it up.
Great if you live in a unit, and have a bokashi. Find a spot where you can hide your Compot in the gardens of your unit complex so it helps the garden but doesn’t take up space or is noticeable to the other tenants.
No, you don’t need the Compot Top unless you want to have some fun with growing things from seed or protecting little seedlings in your garden from all the bugs, slugs etc that want to feast on your new plants.
You don’t have to use it on top of the Compot if you are growing something directly in the garden, but it won’t be as efficient as it will not get the heat from the compost in the pot below warming up your little seeds like in a hothouse.
It is a fun way to propagate without the need for a big shed, warming trays, etc, usually required to propagate seeds. I am always finding new things to grow underneath it and different ways it works in different conditions. It’s an ongoing experiment for me.
Yes, it does. As a general rule but you need to soaks your scraps in waste water overnight (or for a few days is better) so the scraps begin to ferment. I have never had a problem with rats but I guess it is because I soak my scraps for at least a week as I don’t have time to empty the scrap bucket every day.
I also recommend that you don’t use sugar cane mulch as a cover over the lids as it emits a sweet molasses smell which I believe attracts rats. I have never had a rat dig around my pots unless I covered it with sugar cane mulch or the pot was not positioned in the ground properly.
This is the same method you would apply if you have dogs and other garden critters you are trying to deter including the bush turkeys, Antechinus, possums, (raccoons in Canada) and other garden pests though I have not tested it on all garden pests.
However, if you have chickens and have a Compot inside your chicken pen – do not soak your scraps as it will keep the chickens away and you want them to scratch around the pot to get the soldier flies for protein. Plus when you grow greens on top of the pot in your chicken pen, they may not go near the greens if the scraps are fermented as the smell will deter them. You won’t smell it but they will. The best way to use the Compot in your chicken pen is inside an old pot plant container. (instructions coming soon but you can watch this video on YouTube how to set one up for above ground use)
Any wastewater that does not have detergent in it unless it is bio-degradable detergent. You could use all your water from cooking instead of putting this down the drain.
I have found recently that adding a bit of detergent to your waste water and scraps is great if you are not a very good gardener and have very dry soil. The detergent breaks the surface tension of the soil allowing the juices to leach into the surrounding soil in your garden – as it is supposed to do.
Save the water from any container you are rinsing out to put in your recycle bin. Put this water in with your scraps and any water that you can save from going down the drain. But don’t stress too much. None of us are perfect. I just do the best I can.
If your scrap container fills up with more water than scraps then you can empty it straight away. Otherwise, keep your scraps covered in this water for as long as is tolerable to you. This might be overnight or a few days. If the scraps are covered in water they should not smell for up to 5 days, but this can also depend on what food you eat.
If the scrap container starts to smell either empty it or add more wastewater. This will dilute the odour buying you a few more days grace before you have to go and empty it. So it does not become a chore that has to be done every day. Just do it when you have time.
If you give most of your kitchen scraps to your chickens there will probably be very little left to fill more than one pot. But it does depend on your family size and the amount of waste you produce and how much of that waste the chickens won’t eat.
You can plant a Compot inside your chicken pen and fill it with all the stuff you don’t feed to your chickens or top it up with the waste the chickens don’t eat at the end of the day or week when you clean out the chicken pen. Though that is work and usually there are other critters around that will eat the leftovers from the chickens.
The good news is …when the soldier flies get into the pot (in the chicken pen) the chickens will scratch around it to get at the larvae. The larvae are very high in protein for them. If a few maggots get in don’t worry….it’s all good. They love maggots too.
Plus you can grow greens on top of the pot for them (with the Compot Top) without them destroying the greens before they have grown. When the greens have just sprouted this is really high in protein for the chickens. And when the greens have grown it is really good for their eggs. So you can do it either way. Try wheat grass, barley, oats etc.
I did have one customer that told me her chickens dug her pot up completely. To counter this problem and still give your chickens the benefit of the Soldier Fly Larvae, plant the Compot inside a big pot plant. Fill around the Compot with paper, weeds, chicken waste, or anything biodegradable but keep the inside of the Compot for food waste. (video on YouTube)
You may need to dig the pot plant holder into the ground a bit so the top of the pot is pecking height for the chickens so they can easily get at the Soldier Fly Larvae
As the soldier flies come out to pupate the chickens can still help themselves to the bugs. And you can still grow their greens on the top. Video on YouTube – Chickens in Martina’s garden that will show you how she grows her wheat grass in the chicken pen.
If this doesn’t work then you must call me. You might have to put it in your garden and scoop out the soldier flies (with a glove) and toss them to the chickens as a treat once a week or whenever you have the urge to give them a treat.
Personally, I love grass clippings because…
- They filter any odours (which you should not smell but garden critters can)
- They maintain the temperature inside the Compot for all the composting critters
- They keep the summer hot air and winter cold air out
- They reduce evaporation of water from your soil and from your Compot
- Maintains moisture in your soil
- And they break down into the most beautiful soil on and around your Compot
- They are FREE
- The only drawback is you need to push your hose into the grass clippings when watering unless you lay some irritation tape on top of your soil and then cover it with your grass clippings. Your soil is watered, evaporation is reduced, grass composts down quickly and you have saved yourself some money and a lot of hard work turning compost piles.
The other cover I really love is Shredded Bamboo
- It takes a long time to decompose
- Makes a nice cover over your Compot and garden bed – looks tidy
- It allows water through (unlike grass clippings which can matt together)
- Reduces evaporation
- Maintains moisture in your garden underneath the top layer
- The worms take it deep down into the soil improving your soil structure at a much deeper level – the 30cm zone where your plants feed.
- Easy to spread and remove from the top of the Compot
- The only drawback – they cost money
Other covers that work
- Leaves – take a long time to break down unless scrunched up, but create a great cover.
- Hay or Lucerne – adds great nutrients to the soil
- Coconut Fibre – a bit fiddly but they work if you have nothing else
- Mulch – as long as it does not have a high dirt factor -hoop pine mulch is quite a good cover for your pot and the garden
- Sugar Cane Mulch – great around your edibles and cheap but flies away in the wind. Also I have found it attracts rats so if you have a rat problem I don’t recommend it. From my experiments I have found it releases a sweet molasses smell that under normal circumstances would not be an issue in your garden. But add a Compot full of food and bugs with the sweet smell of molasses and you have a possible situation to attract rats. However is you soak your scraps in your waste water I have found this is the best deterrent – less the sugar cane mulch as well.
- Paper – make sure it is shredded and wet and spread thinly so air can still penetrate your soil. Then cover it with any of the other covers and the worms will come up to the surface and eat it. But it is a slow process. And if it dries out they won’t eat it. I have worked out how to get rid of your paper with my above ground Compot method. (video on YouTube)
What I don’t like is fake wood chips. They don’t break down and get caught in the opening of the Compot. They are of no value to your soil other than to look good.
But it’s up to you what you use.
Initially, an area about 50 to 100 cm around the Compot will be nourished. Then (depending on how good you maintain the moisture in your soil) this area can grow. If the soil is moist the worms can move through the soil. If the soil is dry the worms cannot move through the soil and will most likely congregate around the pot where moisture is continually leaching out of the Compot.
Cover your garden beds with straw, hay, mulch, leaves, grass clippings, coconut fiber, or shredded bamboo to keep the soil moist and remember to water your garden when you can. Results will depend on how good a gardener you are. But if you are a really bad gardener and don’t have time to garden or water your plants, then the Compot is still a great waste disposal system that is efficient and easy to use.
Many of our customers plant their Compots every 2 meters, but I never worry about this. If you find an area of the garden that looks barren and needs nourishing then you can always move a Compot to that area for 6 months or so. I say just do what works for you and the type of soil you have in your garden
YES and NO. It all depends on how much time and space you have and the time of year. But it definitely makes the waste disappear faster the longer you are able to soak them. This is especially important in winter if the Soldier Flies decide to hibernate in your area. However
If it is too cold in winter your Compots may slow down but when you soak your waste in water overnight or better still for a few days, this aids the decomposition process and then they will continue to decompose inside the Compot – assuming of course that they haven’t completely frozen.
If you collect your waste in a pot on your kitchen sink and you only empty it every few days then I absolutely recommend you add your wastewater to the scraps as well. EG. water from cooking pasta, veggies, etc; water from rinsing out a container to go in the recycle bin; any water you are planning to throw down the sink that does not have detergent or chemicals in it. You will notice your Compots will work even faster when the scraps are very wet and soft. But if you can’t do this (very hard in a large family with lots of waste every day) then even if you soak the scraps overnight it will make a difference. See tips and tricks getting the most out of your Compots with a big family. (video on YouTube – fast waste disposal above ground with the Compot)
Many other composters require the contents to be dry for them to work properly. With the Compot – the wetter, the better – I say. As long as the Compot is draining the juices into the soil then everything is perfect and it doesn’t matter if it looks like a big slushy mess. That is exactly how it should look. But just do the best you can. There is no specific right or wrong way. You can’t fail. It’s up to you what you find works best for you.
When putting waste in your chicken pen, you don’t need to soak the scraps or it may keep the chickens away. You want them to get the benefit of the Soldier Flies and the greens if your are using the Compottop to grow greens inside their pen.
Just work out what works best for you and if you can’t work it out then call me.
You don’t have to cover the Compot but it will work better because it keeps the hot air out in Summer and the cold air out in winter which maintains a nice even temperature inside the Compot for all the composting critters. Plus it helps to prevent the contents from drying out.
You can cover your Compot with almost anything that allows it to breathe. Hay, scrunched up leaves, grass clippings, coconut fibre, shredded bamboo, or mulch that is not full of dirt. The only thing to remember is “NOT to cover it with dirt” or “Sugar Cane Mulch” as this attracts Rats. If you cover your Compot with dirt then you might as well just dig a hole in the ground and bury your waste. This will make the waste decompose too slowly and defeat the purpose of using the Compot. Plus you might make it hard to find and the bugs can’t find it either. Try what works best for you in your garden. I personally love my grass clippings and leaves all mowed up together – a good nitrogen/carbon ratio.
If you find you have the good old house fly hanging around your Compots, then you haven’t covered them properly. Just add some more topping and be sure the little centre hole is well covered also. You do not want to be encouraging house flies.
However, if the soldier flies have not found your pot with within a few weeks then you may need to uncover a few holes on the lids of the pots for a few days till they find it. This might cause a temporary situation with the house flies but with the new lid design they can’t get in so you really don’t have to worry. If they do get in don’t worry as maggots are also great decomposers too, but unlike the soldier fly, they don’t bury their way out so they die inside the pot and become compost. I have never ever had a problem with house flies and you know how they love the Queensland hot weather.
There could be a number of reasons why your Compot is not working.
- 1. It is the middle of winter and way too cold for anything to decompose.
Solution: Depending on where you live you may have to add warm water to you scrapes before putting them inside the Compot. And be sure to cover it to keep the warmth in. If the waste is frozen (and I have not come across this problem yet) you may have to wait for the weather to warm up, or try covering it with a denser layer of grass clippings, etc. inside the Compot on top of the waste in addition to the covering on the outside of the pot. You should not have this problem in most parts of Australia but your Compot may slow down over Winter as the Soldier Flies will be hibernating during the colder months. If you are experiencing a very mild winter you might just find that you still have Soldier Fly larvae active inside your pots.
- 2. You are not covering the Lid with grass clipping, hay, mulch etc so the contents are drying out and dehydrating rather than decomposing.
Solution: Simply cover over your lids with anything except soil as the Compot needs to breathe and add some water to moisten the contents. The contents decompose better if moist.
- 3. Your contents are too dry. This may be because when you collected your waste there was no excess water in with your scraps. Or your garden is very dry and you have not watered for a long time or it hasn’t rained. Or because you have not covered your Lids and the hot summer air has dried out the contents, or the cold winter air has frozen or dried the contents.
Solution: Remember to cover your Lids to keep the heat out in Summer and the cold air out in Winter. Also when you are collecting your waste each day in a container on your kitchen sink, try to fill it with any wastewater (as discussed above – should I soak my scraps in water?) that may have normally gone down the drain. Don’t waste this water especially if you live in an area of water restrictions or very hot dry areas. Put it in your container with your scraps. The water will soften the scraps, moisten them, mingle all the odours and start the decomposition process.
You can store your waste covered with water for roughly up to 10 days before the smell drives you crazy. But obviously, you don’t want to keep your waste this long unless you are incredibly busy and haven’t had time to empty your scraps. At least you know you don’t have to rush out every day to empty your scrapes when they are covered with water. If the contents start to smell, either add more water to dilute the odour or empty the waste into your Compots. This is particularly effective in Winter when the soldier flies may not be around to decompose your waste quickly and if you live in an area where there are no Soldier Flies and you have to rely on the other elements to break down your waste. This will work so give it a go if you have the space. At the very least, soak your scraps overnight in water. Even this will make a big difference. Remember your Compot works differently to other composters and it does not matter how wet the contents are. In fact: The wetter the better. But it will vary depending on your area, your climate, your soil, the time of year and what you are filling your pots with.
- 4. I have done all those things and still nothing. Sometimes (depending on your soil, where you live, the climate etc) the pots just take a while to settle in and get going because there is no bacteria or other goodies in the soil.
Solution: You can add some organic soil conditioner or microbes to the pot to get the bacteria happening as the organic soil conditioner contains all these sorts of goodies and more. It’s a bit like inoculating your Compot. Or you can add some other compost from another system you might have going.
Generally, though you just need to be patient and it will sort itself out and come good. Let your pots sit unattended for a few weeks and check how they are doing. It is almost impossible for nothing to have happened in that time unless the waste was frozen or dehydrated and dried out. You might not see massive change but there will be change. Either add some wastewater or just top it up with more waste and wait a few more weeks. Eventually, all the elements that make the Compot work will kick in and you will see change occurring, or an empty pot, or a pot full of soil. If this fails to make a difference then you need to call me so we can talk about your specific situation which might have something strange happening that I have not yet encountered. But I believe there is a solution to all situations. We just need to work out how to resolve the particular issue in your particular situation. It is all solvable.
- 5. One last thing that might be stopping your pots from working is Clay Soil.
Solution: Clay soil can be particularly frustrating but you can improve it by planting a Compot in it. You first must dig a slightly deeper hole. Fill the bottom of the hole with a cheap potting mix. Plant your pot and backfill with the cheap potting mix. Then you must add worms to the outside of the Compot in the potting mix. The worms will move in and out of the pot as the food becomes available for them to eat and they will slowly mix their casting in with the clay. It will take time but it does happen. You may find you need a few more pots than other people and you might need to move them around the garden – say once a year if you want to. Plus you may need to rotate letting one sit and cleaning it out every one to three months.
You can also add moist shredded paper with the potting mix around the pots or cover with shredded bamboo. The worms will carry the shredded bamboo deep down into the clay. The bamboo takes a long time to decompose but makes a big difference to the texture of your clay and will slowly help improve it. The Bamboo is a great ground cover as well because it takes so long to decompose, does not matt together like grass clippings so allows easy access for water and therefore keeps the soil moist as well.
It will take time to improve your clay soil without expensive soil additives. The Compot will definitely make a difference with the help of the worms in the surrounding soil but it is not a miracle worker so don’t expect overnight success. It is a long-term goal.
- Like the worm farm, this is a matter of opinion. But again it has many advantages over traditional composting systems.
- Compost bins are usually large, unsightly, visible in your garden and take up valuable space. The COMPOT is small enough to be hidden in your garden while big enough to compost all your household organic waste. Place a few in strategic positions around your garden, rotate filling them, and let the worms spread the goodness.
- Compost bins usually need a mixture of green and brown waste in order to compost properly and unless you have one where you empty the contents out from the bottom, then you have to wait 6 months or so before you can fill it up again (like a tumbler, Gedi, Aerobin etc). These traditional bins/methods are good for green garden waste.
- As with worm farms, you can not put meat products, citrus, onions, cooking fats, and oils, or animal wastes into a traditional compost bin. COMPOT takes anything organic provided it is not chemically treated including animal excrement.
- You only need to empty your COMPOT occasionally to remove bones and large seeds or to collect soil to spread around the garden. Give it a good clean out once a year and just start filling it again.
- You do not need to shovel composted material around your garden as you do with composters that require emptying and turning. The worms will do the work for you.
- You do not need chemical fertilizers as your plants are fertilized naturally.
- Often big compost bins will become a big smelly soggy mess if they don’t have the right carbon, nitrogen mix. A big soggy mess in a Compot is perfect.
- Large composters require filling all the time (and turning) then require a period of 6 months or more to sit and compost. Where do you put your waste while you are waiting for your large composter to work?
- The Compot can be filled at any time. You do not need to wait for all the waste to be composted before you fill it up again. Just continue to top them up and let them look after themselves.
- If you don’t know what to do with your green garden waste, simply mulch it up and put it back on your garden. It will break down quicker, no spreading or turning required. It keeps the moisture in your garden bed and becomes beautiful composted soil. A few Compots mingled around your garden as well, under the mulch will provide all sorts of nutrients to your plants with a lot less effort and hard work.
The COMPOT can be securely staked into the ground, plus the lockable lid makes it difficult for the dogs to open. Covering your pot with grass clippings etc. reduces the smell so the dogs are less likely to find the COMPOT. Most people feed their meat to their dogs, however from recent feedback I suggest if you have big dogs or dogs that dig you should avoid putting meat in your Compots. If meat is the only thing you dispose of in your council bin then that isn’t such a bad thing. Only you will know what your dog is like and if they eat anything and everything regardless of what you do to deter them.
Another method to discourage your dogs is to ferment your waste (if you have the time and space) in water and add some of their own faeces. It is said that dogs don’t like the fermentation smell of rotting waste or their own excrement. However, every dog is different and you will know your dog best. I have had dogs come in my yard and never even go near the pots, but I do soak my scraps. It also seems to keep bush turkeys away and little native antechinus (which are like a little mouse) possums and raccoons in Canada.
Or simply use your Compots for your Doggie Doos. Better still use the Compot for both. Just don’t put your animal excrement in your veggie patch, but out by a big old tree or any ornamental plant should not be a problem. See useful tips for animal waste
The maggots also help compost the food scraps. They also become food for lizards if they manage to escape or become further compost if they remain in the pot. So don’t worry if there are maggots in the pot. The new lid design has resolved the issue of the flies getting inside, but if you have the older style lid with the holes around the outside then you need to cover your Compot properly with grass clippings or hay. This should prevent them from entering the Compot, but if they do manage to get in they will find it hard to escape as they do not bury through the soil like the soldier flies.
If you have chooks they are good food for the Chickens along with the soldier fly larvae. So plant a Compot in your Chook pen and let the chooks help themselves to the soldier fly larvae and or maggots. The chooks will scratch around or dig down around the pot to the first layer of holes and help themselves to the fly larvae or flies as they try to escape. But only do this in your chook pen as food for your chooks. Flies buzzing around your Compot in your ornamental garden or veggie patch usually means you have not covered it enough. In the chook pen, this is not an issue as it’s food for your chooks.
NO. Nature will take care of everything all by itself. The air, water, soldier flies, bacteria and worms will find their way to your Compot without you having to do anything. No fuss composting. But by all means, add an activator if you want to. The organic soil conditioner I sell is packed with microbes and can be used as an activator if so desired. Just toss a teaspoon or two inside your pot with your scraps and the bacteria will get to work even before the worms find your Compot.
If you want to use the Bokashi Bran I imagine it has the same effect as soaking your scraps but I have never tried it. Feel free to do that if you wish.
YES. They are fantastic for raised garden beds as they help maintain the moisture by constantly releasing juices into the soil (especially if you missed a day of watering) while the worms spread their castings as they move around the garden. You will, however, notice that your raised garden beds will need continual filling up with soil or compost unless they are sealed from the earth below. What happens over time is that the soil compacts down and the worms and ants try to remove the soil to make it level with the ground soil. So you will find raised garden beds require a bit of extra work to keep the soil level high. But they are of course great if you have a bad back or very shaley soil that you just cannot plant anything in because of the rocks. Sometimes having raised garden beds is a quick fix option if you have really bad soil, but be prepared to fill them up now and then.
YES. Beautiful composted soil. Simply stop feeding one of your Compots for roughly 4 to 6 weeks. All the larvae, bacteria, etc will finish doing their jobs and then vacate the premises. At this point, the worms move in to finish the composting process and in turn produce their castings. They have a funny habit of trying to level out soil which is why your raised garden beds may decrease in size. But inside the Compot they try to fill the pot up with soil to ground level. So depending on what you put in your pots will depend on how quickly they fill the pot up and how high. Then simply scoop the soil out with your hand or remove the pot if you prefer and spread the soil around your garden.
You can use the contents before all the larvae have dispersed if you wish–ONLY for filling a hole to plant a big tree. Don’t use it on your indoor plants. And from a customers’ recent experience of spreading partly composted contents around her garden and attracting unwanted animals making a big mess in her garden, I now recommend that you ensure the contents are fully decomposed before you spread them around your garden unless you mix them into the soil.
If you are filling your pots with only fruit and veg then you may find you have no soil to collect at all. But it does depend on the type of fruit and veg you eat, your soil, your climate etc.
If you are feeding your Compots worm friendly scraps only you may find the Compot requires more emptying than it does with the soldier flies. But the upside is you have more composted soil to use somewhere else. The composted soil is very rich so remember to mix it in with your soil or spread it around the garden and water in well.
Yes, it does but you don’t see it as it all disappears into the soil where the worms pick it up and further digest it.
But if you want to make your own worm tea then all you have to do is harvest some of the composted soil and soak it in some water overnight. Remembering though that it will be very rich and needs to be diluted. I use roughly a handful to about 5 liters of water. If you have a sprinkler can with a removable head it makes it easier to pour on the water and some leftover soil mixed in solution with the water.
The beauty of doing it this way is that if you don’t have time you don’t have to worry that your worms are drowning in worm wee because you forgot to empty your worm farm. Do it at your leisure whenever you feel like it. Leave some in your sprinkler can for later use on your garden or potted plants or nourish your lawn with this Soldier Fly Frass Tea.
As a good starting point, I recommend one per person and one for the garden. But it also depends on how much waste you produce; what your climate is like; what your soil is like; are you relying on the soldier flies to do the composting or just the worms; do you want them just for waste disposal or do you want them to fertilise your garden naturally without any real effort or need to keep digging holes.
Some people find they need 2 per person and 2 for the garden.
The best idea is to start with 2 or 3 or 5 and then get more if you think you need more. One is really only good if you live alone and do not produce more waste than say a bucket full every week or two weeks.
If you want to harvest soil out of them to use in other parts of the garden or in a pot plant then you need at least 2 so you can have one to fill up and one to rest for a month. Add to that number depending on how many people in your family and how much waste you have.
EG: If you are a five-person family I would start with 3 or 6. If you produce a bucket full of waste per day you will most likely need 6. But if this waste is just fruit and veg then you might only need 4 because fruit and veg can disappear very quickly. Though I have found that vegetarians need more as they seem to eat more even though the type of waste they have is mainly fruit and veg which normally will decompose very quickly.
If you start with 3 (and you have a big family) you can always add more unless you were very frugal with your waste which is hard sometimes with kids. You might find you have more waste than you thought once you start collecting it daily.
The other thing to consider is if you have Chooks, fish, dogs, (great for doggie doos) or even other systems that you like and still use, such as a worm farm or Bokashi bin. The Compot complements these other systems. See tip and tricks of how to maximize their use.
If you are filling your Compot up with just fruit and veg, the waste can be completely gone in one week, or two at the most depending on what you put in there, where you live, and what your soil is like.
When you are filling it with ALL your kitchen waste it will take longer but not usually more than 4 to 6 weeks.
But the idea is to just keep topping it up. You do not have to wait for all the waste to disappear before you top it up. You will find if you soak your scraps they will disappear quicker but this, of course, depends on what you eat. If you don’t soak your scraps then it can take longer.
If you want to collect soil then you need to let one sit for a month or two. What happens is – the soldier flies and all the other critters do their work then vacate the premises. The worms then move in and finish everything off and try to fill the Compot up with their castings. This works particularly well if you are filling your pot with worm friendly scraps only and it’s a great way to breed worms.
Different factors affect how full the Compot will be after one month. It could be your climate, what you fill your pot with, what your soil type is like, where it is placed in your garden, or whether you covered it or not. But just have a go, experiment a bit, and see what works best in your garden. You can’t fail no matter how you use it. It will eventually all compost down. And if you can’t work anything out I am only a phone call or email away.
Yes, you can add newspaper or any sort of paper to your Compots. Personally, I find it a waste of good space as it takes a long time for worms to dispose of paper, but you can do it if you really want to. You will find you need to shred it up first and make sure it is moist.
Better still – soak your shredded paper in water overnight. Lay on top of your garden bed. Cover with grass clippings or whatever it is you use in your garden to keep the moisture in your soil. Then just maintain the water to your garden to keep the soil and paper moist. The worms will come up to the top of the soil and devour the paper. But it can be a slow process.
I think sending the paper off to the council tip is easier as they usually have compost companies with big machines that can dispose of it more efficiently. The same goes for cardboard though you can add cardboard into your Compots if you have really bad clay soil that you are trying to improve and your compot has turned into a sump. Adding the cardboard will reduce the odour until the Compot (and worms) has reduced the contents of the pot. However, for clay soil, you may need to take other measures as you really don’t want a smelly sump in your backyard. See the notes on clay soil.
I have worked out a very efficient way to dispose of your paper and cardboard waste and fibrous garden waste by using the Compot above ground inside a pot plant container. It will not nourish your soil the same way but it is super fast composting and every three months you can tip it all out, collect the soil and start again. Or just keep topping it up. It will keep reducing as long as you have worms in your soil and holes in the bottom of the pot plant container. Watch this video on how to set it up. You might find just one of these in your garden gives you that ‘little bit of extra space’ you need, without having to buy more Compots.
Worms can’t move up or down through clay soil unless it is clods of clay that has air channels through it. Clay soil can prevent your pots from emptying so they turn into a smelly sump. You will know because your Compot will not have emptied and looks like a big black watery slushy smelly mess.
In this case, you have to dig a deeper hole and fill the base of the hole with a cheap potting mix (which is often just sawdust). Plant your Compot on top of this cheap soil and backfill with the same cheap soil. Then add worms to this soil on the outside of your Compot. Do not put the worms inside your Compots if you are filling them with ALL your waste.
The Soldier Flies will be on the inside breaking down the waste. As the juices leach into the cheap potting mix you put below and around the Compot, the worms will incorporate this into their diet along with the clay as they move sideways into the clay.
The worms will only move in and out of the pot as the food becomes available for them to eat, usually after the Soldier Flies have done their work and vacated. Remember – worms do not eat food. They eat decomposed food. So the food has to decompose first before they can digest it.
You could add some sand to this mix also if you want to help the worms digest the waste. Gradually over time, they will improve the clay. But it will take time.
If you fill the Compots with worm friendly food only the worms will congregate inside the pots and not move around the garden enough. So the process of improving your clay will take a lot longer.
If you have different results or this isn’t working then please call me so I can work out what you are doing and how to resolve the issue.
From tests I have done I have found that shredded Bamboo is the best thing to cover your garden beds and your Compots with especially if you have bad soil, because the worms will take the shreds deep down to the 30cm layer thus improving the aeration, texture and structure of the soil. And eventually, the bamboo will break down improving the clay even further. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.
If you want a quick fix you can move your pots around the garden every six months to improve larger clay areas. But this takes a while so it all depends on how much time and effort you wish to put into fixing the soil. Sometimes it is easier to put in raised garden beds. But I personally would only do that as a last resort. But horses for courses as they say. Work out what works best for you.
In some instances the postage rates are excessive. If you call me I can do a comparison of the postage with Australia Post which occasionally comes in cheaper – especially if you live somewhere unusual or out in the bush.
Australia Post have recently changed their postage rates (2019) so in many instances now the postage can be cheaper with Australia Post. So please call me for a comparison check or try the comparison check yourself by following the instructions found on each page if you click on the bundle of your choice and scroll to the bottom tabs that show other information about dimensions of the Compot, parcel weights and dimensions and instructions how to make a comparison check using the Australia Post “Calculation” link.
I often add some garden products to compensate for the postage if I think it is excessive and I can’t get you a better rate, as I can’t control the post. I can give you a special price or add some product to make up for the postage rates though. So please call me. Don’t be put off by the post. 07 3358 3716 or 0467 006 529. I would love to help you out. Cheers, Vicki