If you can’t find an answer to your questions here please check out the tips section, or email us so we can add your question to the list.
The COMPOTTOP creates a glass house environment – warm, moist, and protected from the elements for your seedlings to grow.
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. The Compot does not fill up 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 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 then you will most likely see lots of worms in your Compots but remember your Compots will not work as quickly and will require more emptying. If you have really bad soil I recommend that you add worms to the surrounding soil outside the pots. See other FAQ’s.
There is no need to water your Compots specifically. When you water you garden water will naturally go into the Compot through the holes and this is a good thing. 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 you 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.
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, waste water (no 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). 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 goes directly into the soil, so there is no need to empty heavy worm trays or collect 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 you worm farm will not be decomposing very efficiently at all and may turn into a smelly mess.
- If the soldier flies do take over your worm farm and you loose all you worms you then 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 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 breakdown.
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 a 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. 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.
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 the space or the equipment to propagate your herbs and seeds. Plus it’s great fun for the kids as well, and means you can propagate directly in the garden without requiring a big shed or specialised 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 you 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 wheat grass as it gets too long to find the hole when you want to lift the lid up.
Depending 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 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, sugar cane mulch, shredded bamboo, or even coconut fibre. 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.
The other reason your Compot may smell is because it is not draining properly because you have poor 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.
- 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.
See other tips 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.
Creates a dead space making it visible in your garden.
Takes too long to decompose
Would be difficult to remove or move
Would cost too much to produce and sell
Would 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.
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 into the hole in the ground.
Throw some soil on top of the 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.
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, 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.
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 you waste if you only have one bokaski 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.
Not 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 hot house.
It is a fun way to propagate without the need of 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. But if you are really concerned about rats just be sure to soak your scraps in your 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 because I don’t have time to empty the scrap bucket everyday.
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 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 you 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.
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 is 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. 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. This is very high in protein for them. If a few maggots get in ..all good. They love maggots too.
Plus you can grow greens on top of the pot for them (with the comopt top) without them destroying the greens before they have grown. However 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. 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. There is a video on the video page – Chickens in Martina’s garden that will show you how she has done it.
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.
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 fibre, 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.
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 it is too cold in winter your Compots may slow down but if you soak your waste in water overnight or better still for a few days, 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 waste water 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 for a solution if you are a big family.
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 right or wrong way. You can’t fail. It’s up to you what you find works best for you.
You can cover your Compot with almost anything that allows it to breathe. Hay, sugar cane mulch, 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”. 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.
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. You do not want to be encouraging house flies.
However if the soldier flies have not found your pot with in a month then you may need to uncover the pots for a few days till they can 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 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. 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 breakdown 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, 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 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 waste water 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 cheap potting mix. Plant your pot and backfill with the cheap potting mix. Then you must add worms. 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.
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 mat together like grass clippings so allows easy access for water and therefore keeps the soil moist as well.
- Like the worm farm this is a matter of opinion. But again it has many advantages over a 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 don’t need to empty your COMPOT except to remove bones and large seeds occasionally. 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 anytime. 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, keeps the moisture in your garden bed and becomes beautiful composted soil. A few Compost 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.
But 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 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).
Or simply use your Compots for your Doggie Doo’s. 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.
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 goodness 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 one month. 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 compost 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. So depending on what you put in your pots will depend 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– just don’t use it on your indoor plants. Mix it in with your soil or spread it around your plants even with the larvae there. Cover with your hay or grass clippings etc. The larvae will continue to eat the contents and fly away when they mature. You rarely need to empty your COMPOT if you keep feeding it. It will look after itself. If you are filling your pots with only fruit and veg then you will most likely have no soil to collect at all.
In 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.
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. Remembering though that it will be very rich and needs to be diluted. I use roughly a handful to about 5 litres of water. If you have a sprinkler can with a removable head it makes it easier to pour on the water and some left over 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.
A general rule of thumb is one person and one for the garden. But it also depends on how much waste you produce; what your climate 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.
The best idea is to start with 2 or 3 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 disappear very quickly.
If you start with 3 you can always add more but this would only be suitable if you were frugal with your waste which is hard sometimes with kids so 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 doo) or even other systems that you like and still use such as a worm farm or bookish bucket. The Compot complements these other systems. See tip and tricks of how to maximise their use.
If you are filling your Compot up with just fruit and veg, the waste can be completely gone in a week or two at the most depending on what you put in there.
When you are filling it with ALL your kitchen waste it will take longer but not usually more than a month. 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 can be completely gone in 2 weeks. If you don’t soak them 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 soil and 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, 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.
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.
I think sending paper off to council is easier as they usually have 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 but 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.
Clay soil can prevent your pots from emptying so they turn into a smelly sump. You will know because is looks like a smelly slushy mess.
In this case you have to dig a deeper hole and fill the base with cheap potting mix (which is often just sawdust). Plant your Compot and backfill with the same potting mix. Then add worms to this soil. Do not put the worms inside your Compots if you are filling them with all your waste. The worms will move in and out of the pot as they food becomes available for them to eat. 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 them please call me so I can work out what you are doing and how to resolve the issue.
In some instances the postage rates are excessive. If you call me I can do a comparison of the postage with Australia Post which sometimes comes in cheaper – especially if you live somewhere unusual or out in the bush.
I also add some garden products to compensate for the postage as I can’t control the post. But I can give you a special price or add some product to make up for the postage rates. 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