Helpful hints for your Composta March 1, 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 to ensure you maintain balance.
Off the Menu
There are some items which are best added in small amounts to ensure that your worms are able to break them down in a reasonable amount of time. Also to ensure that you can maintain a good balance. Items such as onion and orange peel we recommend not adding more than once a week in a small quantity. If you are looking for uses outside of this please check out the other blogs on this topic. One item that we don't recommend adding at all is meat of any kind as it will release bad odours as it decomposes and can attract rats, wasps and mice. Not ideal in a built up urban setting.
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.