Urban composting - the basics

Mostly when we talk about compost - we are talking about composted and decomposed OM. You can use fresh OM (matter that has not yet decomposed) in your garden, but there are some rules and we will talk about that another time, because it's a whole other bag of goodies.

There are many different types of OM, but in urban environments, we are dealing household waste. If your lucky and have the availability, your OM may include coir peat, sheep/cow/horse/poultry manure, composted sawdust, spent mushroom compost and garden compost.   ​

Compost is simply decomposed organic matter (OM), broken down by bacteria and microbes into a nutrient rich organic fertiliser or ‘humus’. (Humus is the organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material and soil microorganisms). It is a nutrient rich superfood that is essential for your garden. If you want luscious plants and vegetables, It’s time to invest.


Why should we compost?

  • It’s free! Food scraps, kitchen and household waste, grass clippings and other vegetation can all be recycled! A good compost soil will retain moisture so you save money by watering less
  • Compost is nutrient rich and contains all the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that your plants need so it’s a great substitute for store bought chemical fertilisers. (Throw them away, they are harmful for the environment and you!). Compost returns organic nutrients to the soil so that your soil quality and fertility is improved
  • Composting helps to reduce landfill waste. Composting reduces the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of and also converts it into a product that is useful for gardening, landscaping, or general house plants
  • Better for the environment: Using your own compost helps to reduce waste runoff from chemical fertizilers into our waterways and oceans. It also helps to reduce green house gas emissions by changing the process in which compost is decomposed. Compost is naturally broken down by microbes using aerobic and anaerobic processes. When waste is broken down in landfill, it is broken down anaerobically which means without oxygen this usually takes place underground and a result, produces harmful byproducts such as methane gas.  

What is the best technique for you?

If you are lucky enough to have a backyard, front yard or even a patch of an outdoor area then consider yourself in luck - the space in which you compost is unlikely to be a problem. For others who reside in smaller spaces, composting IS still possible, you just have to work with what you've got! Let's explore some different methods of composting...


Tumbler composting technique

How it works

Traditional bin and tumbler composting methods breakdown matter through hot processes. Waste is added to the tumbler through an opening, the product is turned regularly to ensure the breakdown by aerobic decomposition, the end result is produced in a couple of weeks. 

PROS

CONS

  • Larger compost capacity
  • Good for garden waste/clippings/prunings
  • Less physical labour
  • Bins are made of durable materials (longer lifespan)
  • Continous compost cycle
  • Requires moderate involvement
  • Needs to be turned on a regular basis
  • Size of tumbler will impact heavyness
  • Weather will affect breakdown process
  • The longer the time, the better the compost

Want to make a Tumbler system? Looking for Tips? What can you use in a Tumbler? Look here!


Vermicompost technique (composting with worms)

How it works

The best worms to purchase are Red worms (Eisenia Foetida). These little guys break down food products through digestion and bacteria into worm castings (basically worm poop) which can then be used as fertiliser and soil conditioner. Worm composting occurs as a cool process (18 - 25 degreese celcius). Using a layered or tiered system you can expect to produce good quality compost withing 2 to 6 months. 

PROS

CONS

  • A properly maintained system is odourless
  • The system can be handmade or inexpensive to purchase
  • Can be used in small spaces
  • The fertiliser produced is richer than most other composting methods
  • Worms can live up to 4 years if taken care of
  • Worms reproduce
  • Fun family activity
  • Can not recycle garden clippings and prunings
  • You have to be cautious of what you feed your worms
  • You have to be conscious of your worm farm environment and how it can be affected by weather

Want to create a worm farm? Looking for Tips? How to take care of your worms? Look here!


Indoor composting bin/bucket technique

All seasons

How it works

A bucket/bin system where layered food waste ferments and is broken down by microorganisms using anaerobic and aerobic processes. Some bins require fermented grain mix to be added to each layer to help the fermentation process and eliminate odours. Once the waste is fermented, simply add the product into the ground or planter, and the product will continue to break down over time adding more nutrients to the soil. 

PROS

CONS

  • A properly maintained system is odourless
  • Can be stored indoors
  • Coverts waste into product in less than 2 weeks
  • Can break down small amounts of meat and dairy products
  • Some bins will produce a liquid fertiliser which can be drained and emptied straight onto your plants and soils
  • Can not recycle large quantities of garden clippings and prunings
  • Requires emptying of liquid on a regular basis
  • Requires regular maintenece and cleaning
  • Some bins requires ongoing cost of activator mix to be added

Want to get involved? Looking for tips? How to get started? We have everything you need, right here!


We all want to know about composting and how to do it. But first, what the f*** is it and why SHOULD we do it? Let’s have a look at the basics.