Helpful hints for your Composta March 01, 2016 15:49 3 Comments
Here are some helpful hints to help keep your Composta in tip top condition and make sure your little “Eco Village” is loving life:
Patience is a virtue
So you’ve just bought your brand new Composta kit, set it all up and you are ready to rock!!! But before you expect big things of your new compost worm friends, be mindful that they have only just moved in and need time to settle into their new home. In the first 1-2 months, be careful and patient with their feeding. Pay close attention to how much food they are getting through and let this be your guide. If they are having a slow week, let them catch up before giving them their next lot of food scraps. Look after them and they will double their numbers after 2-3 months!
These little guys are incredible creatures that can eat up to their own body weight each day. If you want to give them a hand, chop their meals up into smaller pieces.
Balance is the key
The variety of food on offer plays a big part in creating a happy home. A neutral environment is ideal, so to get it there, give your team a good mix of the foods they love. This includes fruit peelings, vegetable peelings, crushed eggshells, used tea bags, coffee grounds, breads, cereals, cooked pasta or rice shredded, plain paper or newspaper, torn damp cardboard, paper towel...even left over pastries. Just avoid adding too much of any one item.
Off the Menu
Some items are too acidic for a worm’s neutral palate, such as onion, orange peel, garlic and spicy foods. Other items can become smelly and cause anaerobic conditions such as some dairy products so best avoided. And the last big no no is meat of any kind – the worms will avoid it and it will start to smell as it decomposes and attract rats, wasps and mice! No thank you!!
What’s that smell?
Your squirmy wormys are terrific “odour eaters”, however if there is an oversupply or imbalance in their food, this presents a challenge. Make sure you are not overfeeding them, give them a good balance of foods and keep “off the menu” items out as these release nasty smelling gases. To remedy a smelly situation, give the centre canister a good flush out once a week with a couple of litres of fresh water (don’t worry, the special drainage system will ensure they won’t drown!). This will help get more oxygen through the system, and help the whole process along a bit. Also add a handful or two of 'brown' carbon matter like brown leaves, small twigs or wood chips. In a few days it will be sweet smelling again!
Bright light! Bright light!
Like Gizmo from the Gremlins, these little guys hate bright light! This is one of the reasons that you will rarely see them as they will bury themselves deep down for protection. If you are really curious and want to check they are there, just pop a glove on and gently scoop right to the bottom of the centre canister. You’ll be sure to get a bunch in your handful, wriggling away!
In Spring and Summer water the outer garden of your Composta about every 2 days and in Autumn and Winter about every 4 days. We also highly recommend giving the center canister a 'flush' with about 2 litres of water every fortnight. Remember to keep a large container under the drainage spout to catch the run off - this is excellent fertiliser that you can put straight on to your other plants!
Unlike traditional wormfarms, the Composta loves a ‘lil sunshine. The ideal temperature range for composting worms is around 15- 25 degrees, and the garden surrounding the centre ‘Eco village’ protects it from direct heat, cold, and large temperature fluctuations. As the Composta comes in mostly light colours, like White and Beige, these also reflect heat. Just be a bit careful if you have purchased a black coloured Composta, as black absorbs more heat if placed in a very sunny spot. If it’s a super hot day and you are concerned, pop some damp, shredded newspaper and ice cubes in the top which will help cool things down.