Category Archives for Gardening

Indoor low light plants: The basics.

Indoor plants. What do we mean?

Well, more appropriately, we mean: low light and shade tolerant plants.

LOW light does not equal NO light? ALL plants need to be able to carry out photosynthesis so light from the sun is an essential ingredient (whether this be direct or filtered).

​It has been proven (have a look, you'll find it all over google search): Plants have this incredible ability to make you feel calm, serene, and somehow - very vaguely stated all over the internet - they are 'good for your health'.

We all know plants make us feeeeeel goood. But how the hell do we make them look good AND keep them alive and healthy?

Well, it starts from the very beginning. So Lets start with the basics.

You have a space - you want to fill it - you know E-X-A-C-T-L-Y where you want to put your new healthy love child (luscious green plant). 
There is no denying the fact that we have all seen that one instagram post on an inspiring decor with woven fabrics, luscious green foliage, up cycled wooden furniture and thought..."easy peasy lemon squeezy: I can do that".

Hold up. Let’s all be very honest with ourselves - we are not interior decorators with wads of cash on hand. And these days - a good cane basket will set you back $$.
We don't all have that money to spend. So where do we begin?

Well, it might sound a little confusing.
But BEFORE you get started, here are some essential tips that will let you GET started!


Numero uno: Observe your environment​

Don’t just go out and purchase a dozen different plants that you saw pictures of on instagram.

First you need to OBSERVE.

Observe what? Well, where are you going to put them?
You need to know how much light exposure there is.

LIGHT EXPOSURE IS IMPORTANT.

You need to assess light quality, exposure and duration.


Numero dos: Prepare yourself to do some work

Plants are living things - treat them as you would any other human being - with love.

What does this mean?

Be prepared to feed them, to water them, and to take care of them. Already seem like too much effort? Well maybe a plastic dinosaur is better suited to you.


Numero tres: Budget. Prepare your wallet.

A good medium sized plant won't cost you much.

HOWEVER, having said that - the larger you go, the more expensive they get.

Keep in mind, slow growing plants usually cost more $$. So if you want something that looks great straight away, fills space and is larger than hand-sized succulent, you will need to choose wisely.

Your not just buying a plant, you will also need to purchase:

# A pot/Basket/Hessian sack (if that's what your into)


# Soil (correct soil type for the correct plant - figs require different soil to orchids)


# Plant food/fertiliser (remember - plants can't drive to macdonalds. You have to do it for them!)


Numero quattro: Plant selection and purchase

Now its time to decide whether you want a plant that flowers, a plant that has large green foliage, a small succulent that doesn't need much watering, or even something edible!

Each plant will have a specific need and it’s maintenance will vary, so it’s a good idea to select plants based on the amount of care you will be willing to provide and how they will fit into your current environment.

Where do you buy them?​

Not to discount larger chains and hardware stores - they have their perks, but consider this: a small local nursery will usually stock the same product, it may be of better quality, your supporting something local AND there may be different cultivars (variations) that interest you.

The key point here is to shop around.

If you don’t mind driving, a day trip to a larger retail or wholesale nursery may save you $$ and give you exposure to many more interesting plants.


Here's what you've been scrolling for.

Our top selections for low maintenance plants for the indoor environment

Peace Lily - Spathiphyllum wallisii

(Recommended plant for low light)

This is one of the most popular low light plantings. Why? It has both flowers and foliage that are beautiful. Dark green soft leathery leaves and fragrant white flowers on a tall stem (scape) up to 0.8m tall.

Likes a moist - well drained soil and prefers humid shaded environments. 
(Note: if you leave this plant in a pot with a saucer, the roots will rot. They do not like to sit in wet baths!)


Cast Iron Plant - Aspidistra elatior 

(Recommended plant for low to medium light, shade loving plants)

Grown for it’s luscious broad dark green foliage which sit upright to 0.6m in height.
Some species are variegated/striped/marbled - making them an interesting piece to add to any room. 

Known for its hardiness - this plant is also known as the ‘cocacola’ plant - able to tolerate binge drinking and parties.
They like a moist and well drained soil, requires a minimal watering regime. 


Fiddle-leaf Fig - Ficus lyrata

(Recommended plant for partial shade and filtered light but also tolerates full sun)

One of our favourites. Large elephant like, crimpled green leathery leaves sitting among a greyish/brown trunk and branches. Quite a relaxed bushy habit.
This plant does have flowers and fruits, but they are not generally seen in container nursed plants. Likes a moist - well drained soil so therefore requires moderate watering regime. Likes an occasional misting.

(Note: This plant is prone to a few pests so be sure to keep an eye out for things like thrips, mealy bugs and scale like insects). 


Zanzibar Gem - Zamioculcas zamiifolia

(Recommended plant for low to medium light, heavy shade tolerant)

This plant is for foliage only and will generally not flower.
This is the ultimate low maintenance plant tolerating low light levels and neglect.
Long stems with shiny, waxy leaves with a compact growth habit up to 0.8m in height.
Likes a dry, well drained soil. 
Tolerates a 'minimalistic' approach to watering regime.


Orchids - Cymbidium species

(Recommended for early morning/late afternoon light)

Everyone knows what an orchid looks like (fleshy green leaves with crazy colourful flowers), some people say they are the easiest plant to have for an indoor settings, others say they are impossible to keep alive. So what’s the trick?
Orchids like good air and water movement. They require a regular watering regime, don't let them dry out - but don't let them sit in water either!
(Note: consider buying an orchid soil mix - usually a mixture with peat moss)

Been given an orchid as a gift? They will flower for about 6 - 8 weeks. Once they have finished flowering - cut them down to the base of the flowering stem and continue to care for them with an occasional watering. 


Madagascar Dragon Tree - Dracaena marginata

(Recommended for full sun, filtered light)

Why is it called a dragon tree? Known to produce a red sap, but perhaps it's because of it's unique winding brown cane like stems and dark green sword shaped leaves. 

A dragon tree can grow between 2 - 6m but planting in a pot will limit growth so don’t be too worried. This plant will tolerate a shaded position. Likes a well drained, fertile soil and requires minimal - moderate watering. 


Happy plant - Dracaena fragrans

(Recommended for medium filtered light)

Similar to the Madagascar dragon tree, happy plant has glossy dark green leaves that sit upon brown upright stems but with a looser, floppier, larger leaf. You may have yellow/white star shaped flowers that appear in autumn that are slightly fragrant but they seldom appear indoors.

Tolerating semishade but prefers a filtered sunny position, happy plants will tolerate some form of neglect although they prefer a well drained, fertile soil that is watered regularly.


Mother-in-law’s Tongue - Sansevieria trifasciata

(Recommended plant for medium light)

This is a very hardy, architectural plant - bought for its attractive foliage that has an upright growth habit up to 1m tall. Succulent, thick leathery sword shaped twisted leaves that are almost marbled and patterned. 

Tolerant of neglect, they like a well drained soil and are low maintenance when it comes to watering. 


How to spruce up your plants by styling to a more 'organic' feel. 

1 - Think simple earthy colours.

2 - Woven natural fabrics.

3 - Natural recycled materials.

Apply the three rules together and voila - you have a picture perfect instagram post!
Unfortunately, the cool cats have caught on, now a simple cane basket will cost you an arm and a leg.

If you want to remain on the more sustainable side of things, try sourcing materials from garage sales, second hand stores or your local recycling bulk stores - they have plenty of hessian sacks available on the cheap. 
Another option is to keep your eye out for clean up days! There are treasures yet to be found!

For some not so subtle product advertising and inspiration, check below folks!

Tumbler composting: How to, tips and tricks

Tumbler Rumbler 

Composting with a tumbler? What do we mean and how do we do it.

Tumbler composting is essentially composting within a sealed container. A container which can be rotated to mix the materials within! Having a good seal and insulation helps retain heat which is essential for the breakdown of compost matter. This method was introduced to speed up decomposition and make composting a lot easier in relation to the physical side of things. No pitch pork or hard labour needed. 

Consider the tumbler method if you don't have space for a compost heap​, but are still interested in producing larger quantities of compost matter.



Essential knowledge to get you started

You will be choosing this method if you are ready to start composting a larger quantity of scraps as well as the addition of garden clippings. The advantages of tumbler composting? Less physical labour (the premise is that you have an effective pivot and rotating system that takes the strain off your back), less chance of vermin and rodents (as the tumblers are usually elevated and sealed), elimination of weeds and pathogens (via the decomposition process of heat) and a faster production of compost matter (if you do it right).

If you do it right, you can produce a quality compost matter in the space of 2- 6 weeks.

Things to consider before choosing your tumbler

Space, budget and functionality

Space - Your choosing this method because you have a decent size outdoor space for a compost tumbler, but unfortunately not a decent size backyard to fit a compost heap. These tumblers when compared to Indoor compost bins are larger and can hold a larger quantity. I've placed mine on the corner of our balcony on some astro turf and it looks pretty neat. 

Budget - Unfortunately, when compared to other composting methods, investing in a tumbler comes at a higher cost $$$. Bonus points if you can score one that has a tap inbuilt for the compost juice.

Functionality - The purpose of a tumbler is to relieve the physical efforts of traditional composting methods. Generally speaking, the matter only needs to be turned a few times a week and rather than getting out the old pitch fork, the bins turn on an axis via a handle. Tumbler compost bins are generally made of pretty durable and hardy materials. You can even find ones out there that are constructed from recycled materials which is an added bonus for the environment. Make sure you inspect the handle and rotating axis to ensure they are durable as you will be rotating a significant load. If your able to invest some good $$$, there are tumblers out there with wheels. What's the purpose? to allow you to wheel your bin over and empty straight onto your garden!


The disadvantages of this method

There are advantages and disadvantages to each composting method. It is important to note that with the tumbler composting method, heat is the prerequisite for producing a quality compost matter. High temperatures and good insulation are key. If you live somewhere where the weather is very cold and you are unable to sustain heat within your bin, this method might not be for you, sorry guys (but there are ways around this - see below).

Another thing to note, is that the more frequently you add fresh matter to your bin, the more you prolong the process of decomposition (this is why some smart people invented dual chamber/continuous use tumblers).


Top Products on the market

What we love and why we love it

Yukchuk under-counter

Yimby Tumbler Composter

Pros
- Dual chamber/ two chambered design
- Made from recycled plastic with a steel frame
- Easy functionality

Cons
- Requires assembly of bin and frame
- Capacity (37 Gallon/ 140 Litres)


Full Circle Fresh $29.99

Lifetime Compost Tumbler

Pros
- Large capacity (80 gallons/303 Litres)
- Made from durable, UV protected, hardy material
- Large opening  allowing for easy access and emptying

Cons
- Requires assembly of bin and frame


Spin Bin Compost Tumbler

Pros
- Lid and opening on both sides so user friendly
- Large capacity (60 Gallons/227 Litres)

Cons
- Requires assembly
- No handle -  requires manual spinning of the tumbler


Exaco ECO-2000

Envirocycle Mini Composting Tumbler

Pros
- Black sleek design and durable material
- Comes with a 5 year warranty

Cons
- Not as easy to tumble as it fills
- Single chamber design as opposed to dual chamber design


Norpro Ceramic Compost

Good Ideas Compost Tumbler

Pros
- Made out of 100% recycled material
- Comes pre-assembled

Cons
- Single chamber design as opposed to dual chamber design


190L Compost Tumbler

Pros
- User friendly design, wheeled base easy for movement
- Large capacity
- Made from 90% recycled materials

Cons
- Single chamber design as opposed to dual chamber design


What you can and can't recycle

There are certain rules for which you have to abide by with any composting technique. As far as tumbler composting goes there are certain items which you should and shouldn't recycle.

As a general rule - you should stick to 1:2. This means 1 part nitrogen to 2 parts carbon (or 1/3 nitrogen to 2/3 carbon). The key for nitrogen based materials is green and wet. This generally includes things like kitchen food scraps and fresh grass clippings. Carbon based materials include (but not limited to) dried garden clippings, dried leaves, and branches.  For a more in-depth list of nitrogen and carbon materials, see here.

Works well

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Cooked leftovers 
  • Small green prunings/grass clippings
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Wilted/dried flowers
  • Shredded newspapers and cardboard (Including tissue paper, toilet rolls)
  • Egg shells
  • General garden waste/old potting mix
  • Human and animal hair
  • Vacuum cleaner dust

Works not so well

  • Large Bones
  • Meat and dairy products
  • Large branches
  • Fat and oils
  • Pet waste/faeces
  • Glass, plastic, Aluminium (common sense, would you eat these?)

Tips for a successful tumbler compost

  • Ensure that your scraps are broken down into smaller sizes before putting them in your bin - this will help speed up the decomposition process. 
  • Ensure that you turn your mix on the regular, 2-3 times a week is optimal. 
  • Make your compost one batch at a time - by adding ingredients on the regular you prolong the process (this is why we recommend dual chamber bins).
  • If your compost becomes to wet: it may become smelly. To fix this: you can try adding more carbon based scraps or alternatively add sawdust or dolomite to reduce the acidity. Ideally you want your matter as moist as a squeezed out sponge. 
  • If your compost becomes too dry: You can add more nitrogen based scraps or small amounts of water. There are also bedding and insulation options you can place over the top of the heap to keep the compost insulated in colder months.
  • To speed up the process of your tumbler compost you can try adding an activator which is full of nutrients and micro-organisms. Horse manure works a treat too.

Activator: What it is and why we use it

Activator is simply a protein product that is high in nitrogen and is used for several different reasons. Primarily, it is used to break down materials high in carbon (low in nitrogen). It can also be used to warm up compost mixtures where process is delayed because of a cool environment. 

It's important to note that unless you intend to compost a lot of high carbon materials (which is unlikely in an urban space environment) you won't need a compost activator. Balancing out imbalances in your compost bin/tumbler can be achieved via alternative techniques.  

'Liquid gold'

Did you know: URINE (yes that's right, Urine!) has been well known to be used as a liquid household compost activator? It's FULL of nitrogen! It's free, natural and abundant. So if you don't find this idea too disgusting, why not give it a try?

On average, a single toilet flush will use between 4-9 litres of water! So think of using urine on your compost a way to save water and energy - make a positive impact on your environment.

It is Interesting to note that male urine is better than female urine as it is slightly more acidic.

If you are concerned about using your urine - don't worry - It's generally pretty safe. Urine is mostly sterile but stay away from the use of it if you are ill or have a urinary tract infection.

Remember: Balance is key - you don't want a compost heap that is too wet or nitrogen heavy. ​


Having problems with your pH?

Testing the pH of your compost soil is CRUCIAL. What do we mean by this and why?

 ​PH is a value given to the describe the acidity or alkalinity of a subject, in this case soil.

​A deranged pH level will affect the final outcome of plant growth and absorption of nutrients.

​You should be checking your soil pH at least once every two weeks. The optimal neutral pH level you should be aiming for is between 6.0 - 7.0. (Be sure to look at the type of plants you have - different plants like different environments).

​If you test your soil and you find that your pH is > 7.0, this means your soil is alkaline. ​Alkaline soils have a direct impact on plant growth (stunting) and the ability for plants to absorb soil nutrients.

​​If you test your soil and you find your pH is < 7.0, this means your soil is more acidic. Acidic soil, similar to the problem of alkaline soil, will affect a plants ability to absorb nutrients and can eventually become toxic. Acidic soils will directly impact the absorption of beneficial bacteria and can leave your plants susceptible to disease and pests.

Important to note: The ph value will vary in parts of your soil due to temperature and mixture. As a general rule, it is a good idea to test the pH of various different areas of your soil and then calculate a mean pH value.

​​There are some simple techniques you can explore to fix an abnormal pH

Acidic soil solutions
Slow solutions include:
Neutralise by adding crushed egg shells
Avoid fruit scraps such as peels and pulp​
Fast solutions include:
Adding agricultural lime

Alkaline soil solutions
Slow solutions include:
Neutralise by adding small amounts of peeled fruit skins mixed with damp newspaper bedding
Fast solutions include: 
Add agricultural sulphur, iron sulphate, or aluminium sulphate


How to test pH

There are a multitude of cheap and effective soil tester kits available these days for pH testing. You can source these from your local nursery or hardware store or alternatively, online have some good solutions, see below!


Have some questions you want answered about tumbler composting bins? Feel free to leave a comment below! 

Using a tumbler to compost takes out the physical strain of traditional composting methods. If you have a decent outdoor space, but not quite decent enough for a compost heap, time to consider investing in a tumbler compost bin. They can produce a compost matter within weeks. Want to learn more?

Nitrogen and Carbon- What’s the difference?

Nitrogen vs. carbon - What's the difference?

Well, there IS a little bit of science behind the madness of composting...

If your a little bit of a geek and a little bit interested in learning what exactly materials are made of...have a look into the C/N ratio (carbon to nitrogen ratio). There are a lot of numbers, calculations and funny symbols that to be honest, give me a little headache and are not too necessary for basic composting. If you're just starting up, i would recommend getting the basics down packed first. 

When we talk about materials we can compost, we organise and identify them into either a nitrogen or carbon​ category. This is a simple way of categorising items however it is important to note that ALL materials include both properties and it is just the primary ratio of what they contain that we use to define them. So, in the simplest terms possible...

Nitrogen items are essentially defined as "green" materials. This is because they are materials that are mostly fresh and moist. 

Carbon items are essentially defined as "Brown" materials. These are usually items that are ​dry, brown and dead. 

But, what material is what?

Well, to make it easier for you...we have listed some general items below in alphabetical order. If there is something your looking for and you don't know how you should categorise it, just remember green or brown, wet or dry? Add to the plot and let it rot!

C = Carbon
N = Nitrogen
O = Alkaliser / Activator

Material

Identifier

Cardboard

C

Coffee grounds

N

Corn cobs

C

Crushed egg shells

O / Alkaliser

Feathers

N

Food scraps

N

Fruit/Fruit peels/Fruit rinds

N

Garden debris/Clippings- Dried

C

Garden debris/Clippings - Fresh

N

Hair

N

Hay

C

Leaves - Dried

C

Leaves - Fresh

N

Lint

Manure

N

Paper/Paper towel

C

Peanut shells

C

Pine cones/Needles

C

Pumpkin

N

Saw dust

C

Seaweed

N

Soil

O / Activator

Straw

C

Tea grounds and leaves

N

Vegetable scraps

N

Wood chips

C

Wood ashes

O / Alkaliser

Have a question about nitrogen or carbon that hasn't been answered from this article?

No problem...hit us up with a comment below and we will endeavour to get back to you ASAP!

Want to learn the difference in differentiating between nitrogen and carbon materials?

Vermicomposting: How to, tips and tricks

Crazy about worms

Have you ever wondered how to compost using a little help from some wrigglers? Well, your in the right place.

Composting with worms is a fun and effective way to compost!

Unlike regular composting methods, vermi-compost systems can be set up in small urban spaces, are relatively odour free and require little maintenance.

Worms breakdown waste matter into nutrient rich fertilising products which are suitable for your garden vegetables, plants and flowers. Composting with worms is relatively faster than other composting methods so once you have your initial system set up, in a couple of months you'll be good to go! 

Recycling helps to reduce landfill waste and emissions so as an individual you have a huge impact on the environment simply by engaging in composting methods of any kind.

Vermicomposting occurs as a “cool” process (between 15 - 25 degrees celsius or 60 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit). Worms digests your food scraps to produce worm castings and a quality liquid fertiliser which can be used directly onto your garden bed, soil or plants. Depending on the size of your worm farm, you can aim to create a rich compost matter in between 2 - 6 months!



Essential knowledge to get you started

The best type of worms used in vermicomposting are red worms. Otherwise known as red wrigglers or manure worms (Eisenia foetida), these little guys can be easily bought online or from your local nursery or hardware store.

You will need a functional layered or tiered system. What's this? Stacked trays that have small holes between the layers, legs and some form of tap.

How does it work? Simply place your scraps in the first level, the worms will munch away and produce their castings (worm poop). Every time you place a fresh heap of waste, the worms make their way up back to the new food scraps leaving their castings behind. The humus is left to the bottom layer and so remains your product: A nutrient rich soil mix and liquid.

Things to consider before choosing a worm farm

Space, Budget and functionality

Space - Your choosing this method because you have a decent size outdoor space for a worm farm, but unfortunately not a decent size backyard to fit a compost heap. Worm farms need to be placed somewhere in the shade.

Budget - ($) Setting up a worm farm can be relatively cheap, depending on how you do it. Alternatively, if you choose to make one yourself, you should be able to create a functional system (with a little bit of creativity) for next to nothing! 

Functionality - Worms turn waste into treasure. To allow them to do so, you need to choose or set up a system that allows for aeration, has a good seal keeping unwanted pests out, a tap to reap the benefits of a liquid fertiliser and a system that made from durable materials that will last.


The disadvantages of this method

As for worm composting, there are some important disadvantages to consider...

Time: Composting with worms is a slow process. Your final product can take up to 6 months to be harvested. If this is too long for you to wait, consider an alternative composting method.​

High maintenance: Unlike other composting methods, worms are live creatures and that means taking care of them. You cannot dump and leave. You need to ensure that your worms are continuously fed, don't go hungry, don't get overwhelmed and don't get too moist or too dry.

Odour:​ All composts will have some sort of odour. In this case, worms have more of an earthy odour. Unpleasant smells can occur if your farm becomes too wet, doesn't have enough air ventilation or there is too much food and it begins to rot. 


Products on the market

What we love and why we love it

Worm factory 3 tray Composter

Pros
- Inbuilt tap / spigot for ease of emptying
- 3 Tiered system allowing for continuos cycle
- Comes with instruction booklet and filter

Cons
- Small spigot/tap will require frequent cleaning


Worm Factory 360 Composter

Pros
- Inbuilt tap / spigot for ease of emptying
- 4 Tiered system for continuos compost cycle
- Includes instruction manual, bedding and accessory kit

Cons
- Small spigot/ tap that requires regular cleaning. Not made from strong material


$169

Urbalive Indoor Worm Farm

Pros
- Inbuilt tap/ spigot for ease of emptying
- Sleek Design
- Designed for indoor use

Cons
- Only has two tiered tray system


Hungry Bin Flow-Through Worm Farm

Pros
- Larger capacity volume
- Wheels on base make it easy to move around
- Innovative design makes it easy to harvest worm juice and castings

Cons
- One dump system does not allow for tiered technique


What you can and can't recycle

Unlike other composting methods, worms are little creatures that require care and TLC. You have to be conscious of what you feed them as it will affect the quality of your castings as well as the health of your worms. Unfortunately, worms process less food than a compost bin so you will need to ensure you don't over feed the little wrigglers. 

Delicious for your worms

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Cooked leftovers (Excluding spice i.e chilli, onion, garlic)
  • Juice pulp
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Shredded newspapers and cardboard (Including tissue paper, toilet rolls)
  • Lawn clippings and prunings
  • Crushed egg shells (worms won't digest these but it is safe to add to your compost)
  • Small amounts of bread an pasta

Not so delicious for your worms

  • Citrus, fruit peels (Worms don't like acidity). These items will change the pH of your soil
  • Meat, Fish, Dairy, Bones (These cause odour and attract general pests)
  • Glass, plastic, Aluminium (common sense, would you eat these?)
  • Animal faeces

Tips for a healthy worm farm

  • An Optimal location for your worm farm is in the shade, not too much exposure to hard sunlight as your worm farm needs to remain moist. Worms are sensitive to light and heat.
  • You will have either a tap or a pipe at the bottom of your system. Make sure this is on a continuous drainage or emptied regularly. You don’t want to drown your worms. (If using the liquid fertiliser straight onto your plants make sure you dilute 1:10. In other words 1 part fertilizer to 10 parts water. This is a very powerful and concentrated liquid fertiliser).
  • If you find that your compost mixture is too wet, adding shredded paper bedding can help to absorb some of the moisture.
  • Worms can live up to 4 weeks without fresh food. If your going away for holidays, you need to make sure your worm family has enough food and enough moisture so they don't starve or dry out. Worms will eat half their weight in food each day.
  • Every 5 - 10 days you should add new waste to the top layer. Be sure to evaluate the progress of your worms before you do so. Are there a lot of leftovers? Particular items that aren’t being eaten? Try cutting up your waste into small pieces so that your worms can digest quicker or cut out items that are left. Large chunks of uneaten food can cause an odour if it starts to rot.
  • Be mindful that given a good environment, your worms will reproduce (every 2-3 months). So start out small and build up your farm overtime.
  • If you see your worms wriggling away (literally outside of your worm farm), check your soil pH. An optimal pH for your farm should be between 6-7. 

DIY (Do it yourself) worm farm

The easiest and most common type of vermicomposting system in urban settings is a tiered chamber system.  Want to make your own? It's quick, easy and relatively cheap

What you will need

  • Worms: The amount of waste you produce weekly will determine the amount of worms you need to purchase. Start off small (500 grams/2000 worms) and you can build on your worm family gradually. Take into account they will reproduce.
  • Bedding material: This is your primary start up material and can include things such as compost, soil, shredded newspapers, dead leaves etc. (Items that are loose and breathable).
  • A carpet: This is used to keep the worms cool and moist. You can use damp newspaper or hessian sack.
  • Food scraps: See above for items you can and can’t recycle from your kitchen. 
  • 4 x Plastic dark bins/tumblers/storage crates. Any stackable containers will work.
  • 1 x Lid
  • 1 x Brick
  • 1 x Drill and saw (and attachments)
  • 1 x 10cm Pipe/hose or valve
  • 1 x Nut that fits to the valve
  • Silicone sealer/adhesive/filler 

1. On one of the lower sides of a container, you will need to drill a hole using your hole saw so that you can install the valve. Choose the size of your hole saw to fit the valve/pipe you have chosen. Make sure you drill high enough off the bottom so that you don’t make a hole in the base of the container. This will be your base container.

2. Screw the nut on the inside of the container connecting to the pipe/valve on the outside. (Secure this with your silicone sealer to secure in place and prevent leakage)

3. Place a brick inside in the centre of the base container. This is so that the container placed on top does not sit on your valve piece and your containers do not flood.

4. In two or three of the containers, drill an evenly spread amount of holes on the base (these holes need to be the same size or slightly larger than the worms themselves). These holes are to allow the worms and castings to travel between the containers.

5. Drill multiple small holes into the sides of the above containers (These holes need to be smaller than the worms themselves). These holes are to allow for aeration and air circulation.

6. Once you have drilled all of the holes, you can connect your system. Place one container within your Base container, sitting on the brick. Fill this second level with your liner ‘Peatmoss’ and bedding, ensuring that it is damp (but not dripping wet - you don't want to drown your worms).

7. Add your worms on top of your bedding (Spread them out with your fingers). After adding your worms, gently place your third container on top of your worms.

8. Place your food scraps and waste into the third container. Place your carpet on top of your food scraps to keep your system moist and place your container lid on top.

Once your worms have made their way through to your top layer, you can add your 4th container/layer with new food scraps and your carpet on top. The worms will eventually make their way upwards again. This means that your second/third layer will be full of worm castings which can be used directly onto your garden.


Having problems with your pH?

Testing the pH of your compost soil is CRUCIAL. What do we mean by this and why?

PH is a value given to the describe the acidity or alkalinity of a subject, in this case soil.

​​A deranged pH level will affect the final outcome of plant growth and absorption of nutrients.
Worms do not like acidic environments.

You should be checking your soil pH at least once every two weeks. The optimal neutral pH level you should be aiming for is 6.0 - 7.0

​If you test your soil and you find that your pH is > 7.0, this means your soil is alkaline. ​Alkaline soils have a direct impact on plant growth (stunting) and the ability for plants to absorb soil nutrients.​

​​If you test your soil and you find your pH is < 7.0, this means your soil is more acidic. Acidic soil, similar to the problem of alkaline soil, will affect a plants ability to absorb nutrients and can eventually become toxic. This means an acidic environment is also toxic for your wrigglers! In addition - acidic soils will directly impact the absorption of beneficial bacteria and can leave your plants susceptible to disease and pests.

​There are some simple techniques you can implore to fix an abnormal pH in your worm farm

Acidic soil solutions

Neutralise by adding crushed egg shells

Avoid fruit scraps such as peels and pulp​

Alkaline soil solutions

Neutrals by adding small amounts of peeled fruit skins mixed with damp newspaper bedding


How do you test pH?

​There are a multitude of cheap and effective soil tester kits available these days for pH testing. You can source these from your local nursery or hardware store or alternatively, online have some good solutions, see below!


Have some questions you want answered about worm composting? Feel free to leave a comment below! Let's get our hands dirty

Composting with worms is fun and effortless. These little wrigglers will produce a rich compost matter and liquid fertiliser that is potently concentrated. Vermicomposting is relatively cheap to do, all you need is some basic knowledge and the right tools. Want to learn more?