Super-Fast composting above ground with a Compot is so easy you will wonder why you haven’t tried it yet. It takes all the hard work out of turning compost bays or tumblers and works faster and more efficiently, composting more than just your kitchen waste and paper waste.

Why is above ground composting using a Compot fast and easy?

Basically, because worms want to level out soil all the time, they keep removing all the contents down into the soil below. All you need do is keep topping up your Compot and keep topping up your paper, cardboard and weed waste around your Compot.

The Soldier Flies do all the hard work on the inside of the Compot while the worms do all the hard work on the outside of the Compot. The Soldier Flies are so fast and efficient the contents keep reducing inside your Compot while the leachate trickles into the soil below and nourishes your garden.

The worms are more efficient at breaking down paper, cardboard and weeds so they work their magic on the outside of the Compot.

All the bugs and critters found inside this system all help move the contents down into the ground below.

This method saves more waste from ending up in your council tip without all the hard work usually associated with composting.

Other methods of composting require turning or tumbling and generally are slower because of their size and how they function.

This is a fuss free super-fast method of composting.

A picture containing dish, blue, meat, meal

Benefits of using the Compot above ground?

  1. There is no turning required for this method.
  2. The Worms and Soldier Flies look after themselves.
  3. You may never need to empty it. Just keep topping it up.
  4. You can move it around the garden to any position you like.
  5. There is no smell.
  6. Your worms do not die if you go on holidays.
  7. Your worms do not die if it gets to hot or too cold.
  8. You do not need to monitor your worms. They look after themselves.
  9. You can fit this method anywhere in your garden especially if you have a small garden with limited space or hard caliche or shale soil that you cannot dig into.
  10. It is fantastic as you get older and cannot bend down or you have a bad back.
  11. Anyone in a wheelchair can use this method.
  12. It is twice as fast as in the ground.
  13. You may never need to empty it, depending on how you want to use it.
  14. You can collect tons of beautiful rich composted soil every three months.
  15. All you must do is keep topping it up.
  16. The worms continually remove the contents into the soil below thus nourishing your garden without any hard work from you.
  17. The Soldier Flies are faster than worms at disposing of “ALL” your kitchen waste on the inside of the Compot.
  18. The Worms are better at disposing of fibrous waste like cardboard, paper and weeds on the outside of the Compot in the space between the Compot and the pot plant container.
  19. Together they break down almost all your bio-degradable waste that you produce in the kitchen and in the yard.
  20. The worms and other garden critters keep moving the waste down into the ground, so the contents above keep reducing allowing you to keep topping it up.
  21. The waste around the outside of the Compot insulates the bugs inside the Compot so it does not get too hot or too cold for them to survive. Unlike large bays where the contents can get too hot for the worms etc. to survive.
  22. The worms can escape into the ground if it gets too hot or too cold for them or escape up into the pot plant container if it rains and floods the garden.
  23. Because worms like to even out soil to ground level, they continually remove the contents into the soil below. You will notice this if you have an above ground garden bed that is open to the soil beneath it – the contents need topping up every year because the worms and ants continually remove the soil back into the ground below. It makes a lot of extra work if you have raised garden beds that are open to the soil below. But it makes your Compot continually work to reduce your waste.

Disadvantages of using the Above-Ground Method

The only one I can think of is that it only nourishes the top 15cm of your garden bed as opposed to the inground Compot nourishing deep down at the 30cm layer where most of your plants feed.

Nourishing the top 15cm layer is much the same as applying liquid fertilizer. Some nutrients will be lost to evaporation, but many will work their way down into the deeper layers over time.

And you won’t necessarily get the same 1 meter spread of nutrients around the Compot but you will get all the nutrients going into the soil in the immediate vicinity.

You cannot compost large branches or twigs with this method either. Most people using this method would put that excess waste in their council bin or would mulch it up and put it back on the garden.

How to set up your above ground composting system

Picture of pot in the Garden

1. Find a nice pot plant container which you might like to see in your garden as an ornament that matches your garden aesthetics. Or any old pot that has enough space to allow you to put a Compot inside the pot plant container and still have enough space around the Compot to push paper, weeds, junk mail, old bills or any bio-degradable waste (not food) around the outside of the Compot to fill up the space between the Compot and the edge of the pot plant container.

Picture of Compot inside a pot plant container

2. Leave enough space at the top to cover your Compot with leaves, etc so it is hidden inside the pot plant container but still allows enough space above the lid to put your covering on top. Roughly 3cm or 1 ½ inches. Do not cover with sugar cane mulch or dirt.

Picture of pot showing paper around the outside of the pot

3. Pack all your old bills, junk mail, take away rubbish, or weeds around the outside of the Compot to insulate the inside of the Compot. You can shred the paper if you want to. It will break down faster, so it all depends how fast you want or need to keep packing up waste around the outside of the Compot. I personally don’t think it is worth the extra effort to shred the paper. Do not go buying a shredder just for this exercise. Just scrunch it all up and pack it around the outside. If it is wet the worms will break it down.

If putting a lot of cardboard around the outside remember to wet the cardboard to make it easier to push around the outside of the Compot and keep it moist. Cover this layer of paper and cardboard with the same covering you are going to put on top of your lid after you fill up your Compot with “ALL” your kitchen waste. However, you can cover this layer of paper with dirt, but do not cover the lid with dirt.

Picture of container with waste and water

4. You are now ready to fill the Compot up with “ALL” your scraps and wastewater. The water will leach out wetting the surrounding paper and or weeds. If you think it is too dry you can always add more water. Or you can water it as you water your plants to be sure you are keeping the outside and inside contents moist.

As you water it you will also be flushing all the nutrients produced from the scraps and paper waste, into the soil below. This then nourishes your plants. However, it only nourishes the top 15cm layer of your garden unlike the Compot in the ground which will nourish deep down at the 30cm layer where many plants feed.

Picture of lid on top of Compot with grass clippings as a cover

5. Now it is time to lock your lid into place and cover the lid with leaves, grass clippings, hay, straw, coconut fibre, pea straw, lucerne, shredded bamboo (my favourite next to free grass clippings and leaves). Never cover with dirt or sugar cane mulch especially if you have a rat problem in your area. The sugar cane mulch releases a sweet smell of molasses which attracts the rats. As soon as they find you Compots they realize there is free food for the taking. Soldier Fly larvae on tap. Of course, this does not happen to everyone. If you do not have a rat problem in your garden and all you have is sugar cane mulch, then by all means use it. You must work out what works for you in your garden.  As a general rule the fermented waste will deter the rats unless you are covering the Compot with sugarcane mulch.

Picture of Compot top with Rabbit and other ornaments on it

6. If you would like to make your pot in the garden look more like an intentional ornament and not a composter, you can get creative and add all kinds of things on top of the lid.
I screwed a hole in the bottom of a bunny rabbit as an example and another with a pot plant container on top with a plant in it (make sure you still have a drainage hole in the pot plant container). A customer sent in the picture of a gorgeous little house on top of her Compot. You can be as creative as you want to be and add your own touch. Remember to make it easy to remove the lid, and viola! – you have a hidden composter in your garden.

Picture of kitchen waste ready to be composted

What scraps can I put inside my Compot?

Fill your Compot with “ALL” your kitchen waste. The same as you would put in a Compot in the ground.

Meat, Citrus, Onions, Oil, Dairy, Paper Towel, Old dried-up Beans, Peas, Flour, Nuts, Protein Powder, anything bio-degradable, even your animal waste. Literally everything you produce in your kitchen. Nothing need go in your council bin.  Anything bio-degradable.

Remember to save all your wastewater as well in the same container with your scraps. Allow the waste to ferment a bit – that is – let your scraps soak in the water for a couple of days (or whatever suits you). The fermentation smell attracts the Soldier Fly but deters garden critters and many dogs. Even racoons in Canada.

The water starts the decomposition process and flushes all the nutrients into the soil when you fill up your Compot. Plus, it wets the paper and cardboard around the outside. And if you keep the waste covered in water it should not smell for roughly 3 to 5 days. Though some things (like cat food) go off quicker than other things.

Alternately you can use this method for worms only and therefore fill your Compots with worm friendly food only. It won’t be as efficient, but it will still work, and you will still get beautiful soil from it.

You will get richer soil if you are attracting the Soldier Flies to your Compots because you are putting a greater range of nutrients into the compost mix which will give you richer compost. Actually, it is called “Frass” and is way richer than worm castings. Remember to mix it with soil or spread it around your garden so it is not in a concentrated heap in just one spot. Happy Compoting.

Here are three videos you can watch as well.

Above Ground composting After Summer

Above Ground Composting After Winter

In Mark’s Garden