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Composting in Small Space Gardens

Food scraps for the worm farm

There are lots of good reasons to compost. Save money, save resources, improve your soil and reduce your impact on the environment. Regardless of your reasons, composting is a win/win scenario. Good for you and good for the environment.

Adding compost to your garden will not only fertilise, it actually feeds your soil with a diversity of nutrients and microorganisms that will improve plant growth. Chemical fertilisers, on the other hand, provide a quick burst of a limited number of nutrients that can wash away into our rivers and streams. Compost also increases soil stability, improves drainage and helps retain moisture.

Save Money

  • No need to buy chemical fertilizers. Compost is free!
  • Compost helps to retain soil moisture so you water less.
  • The nutrients from compost are not washed away by rainfall. No waste!

Save Resources

  • Keeps a valuable resource out of the landfill.
  • Waste less water since compost helps with moisture retention.
  • Reduce costs for waste collection and thereby reduce fuel use.
  • Extend the life of landfills. Remember residential waste is 40% compostable materials.

Improve Your Soil

  • Compost returns valuable nutrients to the soil to help maintain soil quality and fertility.
  • Compost is a mild, slow-release, natural fertiliser that won’t burn plants like chemical fertilisers.
  • It also improves texture and air circulation for heavier soils and helps to increase the water retention of sandy soils.
  • Provides organic matter and nutrients which will improve plant growth and lead to better yields.

Reduce Your Impact

  • Reduce Green House Gases (GHG’s) in two ways:
  • Reduce Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from vehicles used to transport waste
  • Organics in landfills break down anaerobically (without oxygen) to produce methane gas, a greenhouse gas 21 times more harmful than CO2.
  • Reduce the impact of chemical fertilisers that run off into our rivers, lakes and streams.
  • Buried organics can react with metals in the landfill to produce toxic leachate, a potential source of groundwater pollution.

    By composting you complete the cycle by returning what you grow back to the soil to help you grow!

    How do you compost if you live in an apartment?

    While composting is a great way to add soil to your backyard plants, many of us live in an apartment where a yard or access to additional space is limited. For those in an apartment, follow these simple steps to successfully compost your food and plant waste.

    There are many ready-to-use compost worm farm systems available on the market which require little preparation. Just Google "Compost Worm Farms" or make your own. Get hold of a plastic container. In order to allow ventilation and drainage, create holes in both the top and bottom of your container. Be sure to place a deep tray under this system to catch the "leachate" (worm wee). Place it on some pot feet or small blocks to all drainage from the bottom.

    Add strips of paper soaked in water and place on the bottom of the container. Layer about ⅓ of the container with the paper strips. This will be the start of your compost pile. Be sure to place a deep tray under this system to catch the "leachate" (worm wee)

    Then add worms, followed by your food scraps. Find a home for your compost bin! Preferably somewhere with not too much sunlight, such as the corner of a balcony or entryway.

    Continue this process making sure to scoop out compost once there is more soil than scraps into a smaller plastic container for distribution and start again! You can also stack containers on top of one another, as long as you create the holes on both the top and bottom. You can give this soil as a gift, use it for small indoor plants or sprinkle it on your lawn.

    On my Instagram and Facebook pages I have demonstrated several times my various composting systems used at Up On The Rooftop Balcony. Do take a look and don't let living in a small space deter you from making your own compost through your own kitchen waste. Neighbours are often only too happy to donate their scraps to you too!


    Compost Worms slow down their eating

    Feeding time on the balcony

    COmpost worms living in plant containers



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