The won­der­ful world of com­post­ing

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - SA­MAN­THA GEE

Imag­ine turn­ing your food waste into a prod­uct with an­other use? En­ter the won­der­ful world of com­post­ing.

Nelson En­vi­ron­ment Cen­tre ed­u­ca­tor Sarah Langi said while com­post­ing was some­times de­picted as be­ing quite sci­en­tific, it was some­thing peo­ple at any level could do.

‘‘It’s like mak­ing a cake, you just need the right in­gre­di­ents.

You need enough browns and enough greens.’’

‘‘Browns’’ or car­bon ma­te­ri­als in­cluded dry leaves, tree prun­ings, bark, crushed shells or torn news­pa­per while ‘‘greens’’ or ni­tro­gen ma­te­rial in­cluded food waste, fresh grass clip­pings, tea bags, cof­fee grounds and weeds with­out seeds.

There were sev­eral op­tions for com­post­ing and Langi said it was im­por­tant peo­ple found out what sys­tem worked for them.

Some­one with a big gar­den could use a three-bay wooden framed com­post sys­tem while some­one with­out any gar­den waste would be bet­ter suited to a worm farm.

Julie’s Com­post Shop owner Julie Pet­tit breeds tiger worms in Nelson and said she al­ways en­cour­aged peo­ple to have a com­post sys­tem along­side their worm farm.

Worm farms re­quired a bit of care­ful man­age­ment, and Pet­titt said the eas­i­est way to wipe out a pop­u­la­tion was by over feed­ing them.

The waste pro­duced by worms, known as ‘‘cast­ings’’ was richer than gar­den com­post.

Pet­tit was pas­sion­ate about the ben­e­fits of worms and com­post­ing and wanted to en­cour­age peo­ple to give it a go.

‘‘You have got noth­ing to lose and the main thing is you are not chuck­ing a us­able re­source into the rub­bish.

‘‘You could ben­e­fit from it break­ing down rather than it go­ing to land­fill and just pro­duc­ing meth­ane.’’

Nelson City Coun­cil and Tas­man District Coun­cil of­fer res­i­dents a $20 sub­sidy on com­post­ing sys­tems from par­tic­i­pat­ing re­tail­ers.

More in­for­ma­tion about com­post­ing can be found on the Cre­ate Your Own Eden web­site. www.cre­atey­ourowne­ worms alive. Worm farm­ing uses the same prin­ci­ples as com­post­ing, but it does not gen­er­ate heat, mak­ing it cold com­post­ing. Use a layer of bed­ding first, hay or shred­ded card­board/pa­per. Food can be added, cover scraps with damp news­pa­per or card­board to limit flies, odour and ab­sorb mois­ture. Worms eat about their own weight ev­ery day: 250g of worms will eat about 250g of waste. The worm cast­ings can be har­vested af­ter a few months


De­vel­oped in Ja­pan, it means ‘fer­mented or­ganic mat­ter’. It is a good op­tion if you want to re­cy­cle al­most all types of food waste but no gar­den waste. Each 3cm layer of waste needs to sprin­kled with a fer­mented wheat-bran mix­ture con­tain­ing ef­fec­tive micro­organ­isms. Use a potato masher to re­move ex­cess air and keep lid tightly closed.

Drain liq­uid from the bot­tom of the bucket ev­ery few days. When bucket is full, close lid and keep in a warm place for about 10 -14 days. When it smells like pick­les, it is ready to be buried in the gar­den. Bokashi pro­duces com­post 2-4 weeks af­ter be­ing buried and very lit­tle space is re­quired as fer­men­ta­tion takes place in a sealed bucket.


Julie Pet­titt of Julie’s Com­post Shop holds a hand­ful of worms from one of her worm farms.

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