Methods of Composting
There are three main options for composting your food scraps and garden waste: conventional composting; worm farming; and EM Bokashi. Before starting, you’ll need to think about which option best suits you and what you are going to put in it. You may decide you need more than one option!
Composting is a process that mimics nature by recycling organic material. It is good for recycling most types of food and garden waste. However, some food groups are not suitable to put in conventional composting bins like meat, fish, oil, bones, fat and dairy products such as cheese. A well-maintained compost bin will normally produce compost in 3-4 months in summer and up to 6 months in winter, although it can take longer depending on what goes into the bin and how often the material is turned.
Worm farming produces compost using a special type of worms called tiger worms. It is also known as vermiculture or vermicomposting. It works in a very similar way to composting except the system needs to be kept cool (in a shady area in summer) to keep the worms alive as they can’t get away. This is a good option if you have mostly food waste and live somewhere with little or no garden waste. It’s also a good option if you have kids as they’ll enjoy helping with it too!
However, tiger worms can be a little fussy and don’t like spicy food, chilli, onions or garlic; meat and milk products; flour products; large amounts of cooked food; garden waste; shiny paper; citrus or acidic food.
EM Bokashi (EM = Effective Micro-organisms) was developed in Japan and literally means ‘fermented organic matter’. It’s a very different system to composting or worm farming and uses a fermented wheat-bran mixture containing effective micro-organisms, which pickles the food waste. It is a good option if you want to recycle almost all types of food waste but garden waste cannot be added. Liquid food waste like milk, orange juice and oils; plastic wrap and meat bones; and shells from seafood should not be included. EM Bokashi produces a compost product within 2-4 weeks after being buried and very little space is required as fermentation takes place in a sealed bucket that can be kept indoors.