Recycling food and garden waste is a win-win scenario.
Think composts smell bad? Permaculture gardener and compost advocate Adam Grubb says it needn’t be so. “A good compost smells like a rainforest.” What’s more, it harvests nutrients for your garden and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from landfill.
Grubb’s business, Very Edible Gardens, runs two-hour composting courses. “To get the balance right, every time you put in food scraps or something green, you should add something brown as well, like soaked cardboard, straw or autumn leaves.”
If you’ve got mostly kitchen scraps (not much garden waste), a worm farm is best. They cost about $80, or you can make one using polystyrene veggie boxes. Worms cost about $50 for 1000.
“They’ll quickly turn your food scraps into worm castings – black gold for gardeners,” Grubb says. He also recommends worm farms for apartment dwellers, “so they can turn balconies into mini food-gardens.” Bokashi Buckets are a super-compact alternative. “They’re great for dealing with meat scraps, but the result isn’t full of the best biology for your garden.”
A regular compost bin works well for green clippings and food scraps. Before you buy, contact your council for discount offers. If the bin doesn’t have air holes, Grubb suggests you use a drill to add ventilation.
To kick-start a new garden, make a cubic metre batch of compost. Layer green waste, manure, food scraps and straw, and turn it regularly. “If the pile is really big, it heats up in the middle and breaks down rapidly,” Grubb says.