Food waste needn’t be wasted

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING - WALLY RICHARDS Prob­lems? Ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmer­ston North 3570606) Email wal­lyjr@gar­de­ Web site www.gar­de­

We’re a waste­ful lot. New Zealan­ders throw out a prodi­gious amount of un­eaten food each year.

Ac­cord­ing to the Waitaki Re­source Re­cov­ery Park web­site, the av­er­age New Zealand house­hold throws away 79 ki­los of food a year worth $563. Na­tion­ally this adds up to 122,547 tonnes of food, or $872 mil­lion an­nu­ally. That’s enough to feed 262,917 peo­ple or twice the pop­u­la­tion of Dunedin for a year.

If you’re a gar­dener how­ever, that food wastage should be about zero, de­pend­ing of course on on var­i­ous fac­tors, such as whether you have pets, chick­ens or a worm farm.

Chick­ens dis­pose of veg­etable scraps and also some gar­den weeds. In re­turn, they lay eggs and de­posit high qual­ity gar­den fer­tiliser.

Veg­etable scraps not suit­able for chick­ens can be given to the worms. Avoid feed­ing worms lemon or cit­rus skins be­cause th­ese are acidic and they do noo like an acid en­vi­ron­ment.

From the scraps, the worm farm pro­duces worm pee along with ver­mi­casts, as well as pro­vid­ing pop­u­la­tions of worms for use in raised gar­dens and for con­tainer plants.

If you have dogs, use a tum­bler compost bin to process their drop­pings and add any green ma­te­rial not suit­able for chick­ens along with a good batch of tiger worms.

Mixed with gar­den lime, and cov­ered with compost, this ma­nure ma­te­rial can be used in raised gar­dens, es­pe­cially for heavy feed­ing plants such as sil­ver­beet and pump­kins.

An older method for pro­cess­ing food scraps is to dig a trench across your veg­etable gar­den to about two spade depths, Tip any food scraps into it and lightly cover with soil. Keep on un­til the trench is filled, cover and dig a new trench.

Keep trench­ing over ev­ery part of the gar­den to en­rich the whole plot.

In ad­di­tion, treat the soil with Rok Solid, My­cor­rcin and Magic Botanic Liq­uid and also ap­ply Wallys Cal­cium & Health.

Avoid ir­ri­gat­ing with chlo­ri­nated wa­ter, us­ing man-made fer­tilis­ers or chem­i­cal sprays and her­bi­cides.

A re­cent study has found that or­ganic milk and or­ganic meat con­tain around 50 per cent more ben­e­fi­cial omega-3 fatty acids than con­ven­tion­ally pro­duced prod­ucts.

This goes some way to­wards in­creas­ing our in­take of th­ese nu­tri­tion­ally im­por­tant fatty acids, ac­cord­ing to re­search pub­lished in Sci­ence Daily.

The largest study of its kind from the United King­dom’s New­cas­tle Univer­sity, found clear dif­fer­ences be­tween or­ganic and con­ven­tional milk and meat, es­pe­cially in terms of fatty acid com­po­si­tion, and the con­cen­tra­tions of cer­tain es­sen­tial min­er­als and an­tiox­i­dants.

Pre­vi­ously, nu­mer­ous stud­ies have been done com­par­ing con­ven­tion­ally (chem­i­cally) grown pro­duce to or­gan­i­cally (non-chem­i­cally) grown pro­duce, find­ing only slightly in favour of or­gan­ics or noth­ing ‘sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent’ be­tween the two.

The new find­ings sug­gest that switch­ing to or­gan­i­cally grown food would help im­prove in­takes of th­ese im­por­tant nu­tri­ents, and that they could pos­si­bly be ap­plied to any or­gan­i­cally grown pro­duce.


If you have to throw food away, re­cy­cle it via a worm farm, chicken run, compost trench or heap to en­rich gar­den soils, which ul­ti­mately in­crease the nu­tri­ent con­tent of home-grown food.

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