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By composting you will enrich your garden, help reduce waste going to landfill and save the cost of treating it as garbage.

Composting

Composting breaks down your food scraps and garden waste, and converts it into rich and nutritious soil, by taking advantage of good bacteria and invertebrates (including millipedes and earthworms).

Adding compost to your garden will enrich the soil, adding nutrients and useful bacteria, and help plants grow better with less water.

Worm farming

Worm farms are ideal for people living in flats or houses with small backyards, and is a cheap and easy way to cut down on your garbage.

Worms quickly and efficiently break down food scraps and garden waste, and produce a rich fertiliser called worm castings, which is great for indoor and outdoor plants, and vegetable gardens.

The most common worms used in worm farms are Tiger Worms, Red Wrigglers and Indian Blues. Worms are available at good hardware stores or plant nurseries.

You can purchase a worm farm from us (just add worms), or you can make a cheaper version by using a polystyrene fruit box with drainage holes underneath.

Tips

  • cover the food waste with newspaper or a hessian bag as this will help to keep a constant temperature
  • place the worm farm in a shady spot in your garden or garage because worms like an environment that is cool, dark and moist

Purchase cheap compost bins, worm farms and waste management tools

You can purchase discount compost bins and worm farms from our Civic Centre offices and then collect your purchase from our Epping Depot (68-96 Houston St, Epping). Alternatively, if you live in the City of Whittlesea, we can deliver your product for a $6.36 fee.

Council sells these items at cost price - 280L & 210L compost bin, worm farms and Bokashi buckets. To enquire phone 9217 2170.

We sell the following products:

  • 210 litre compost bin - Height - 65cm, width - 86cm  $53
  • 280 litre compost bin - Height - 85cm, width - 88cm  $80
  • Worm farm - Height - 38cm (without legs), width - 40cm, length - 58cm  $73
  • Bokashi bin - Uses beneficial microbes to ferment organic waste, which can then be dug into the garden  $66

Compost and worm farm workshops

We also offer free composting and worm farming workshops throughout the year as part of our Hands on Sustainability program.

Acceptable compost and worm farm items

These items can be put in a worm farm - fruit and vegetable scraps, shredded paper, egg shells crushed, coffee grounds and tea leaves/bags.You can compost the following:

Greens

  • fresh plant material
  • fruit and vegetable scraps
  • coffee grounds and tea leaves/bags
  • crushed egg shells
  • chicken and cow manure

These items can be put in a compost bin - fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, shredded paper, coffee grounds and tea leaves/bags, leaves and egg shells crushed.

Browns

  • straw 
  • damp leaves and grass clippings
  • sawdust and wood shavings
  • woodfire ash
  • shredded paper and cardboard
  • vacuum cleaning dust
  • seaweed

 

Unacceptable compost and worm farm items

You should not compost the following:

  • meat, onion, garlic, dairy products, fats and bone
  • large amounts of citrus fruit or peel
  • toilet waste
  • large branches
  • garden waste recently sprayed with pesticides
  • weeds or diseased plants
  • rose prunings
  • metals, plastic or glass
  • treated pine sawdust and shavings

Steps to composting

  1. Put a layer of coarse material such as prunings, dry leaves and shredded newspapers on the base of your heap.
  2. Add alternate layers of food scraps or garden waste with soil or compost - like making lasagne - so that it won’t smell or attract flies.
  3. Turn it over with a garden fork once a week to speed up the process. After turning it, cover it with soil. The composting material should feel damp. If not, add some water.
  4. Add a thin layer of damp shredded paper or cardboard each week, to speed up the process.

Compost tips

To keep your compost heap healthy:

  • turn it over with a garden fork once a week to keep air circulating
  • chop food scraps finely to speed up the process
  • cover the base of your heap with mesh to prevent mice from entering
  • add a layer of soil each time you add food scraps to the compost to keep flies away

If your compost:

  • smells - it may be too wet so add some ‘browns’ and turn your heap over
  • attracts animals - it may contain meat, dairy products, oils or bread
  • contains ants - it may be too dry
  • is not breaking down - it may not be balanced, so ensure there are equal amounts of ‘greens’ and ‘browns’ types of items

Using compost in your garden

Your compost is mature and ready to use when it feels crumbly and smells like earth. You can:

  • dig it into garden beds
  • spread it under trees and bushes as mulch
  • use it to make potting mix for pot plants or seedlings

Further information

For more information on composting and worm farming, visit the Sustainability Victoria website.

Contact

For more information, and to enquire about purchasing discounted compost bins and worm farms, call us on 9217 2170 or email enviroops@whittlesea.vic.gov.au.