There are many different compost bins on the market all having various ways to compost waste. Each one will suit different people in different situations, but none of them meet my needs of busy, inner-city living.
When I started this journey in 2009 I found nothing existed commercially, that was reasonably priced and easy to use. There was a homemade system which I also found was not that user-friendly.
Then a friend of mine told me about a homemade method she used. However, when I tried her method, I found this also didn’t suit my needs, as it too had flaws that I considered where important. It did not keep vermin out, did not have a lockable lid and (to me) looked unsightly in the garden.
The Concept Of COMPOT…
- So I set out to make a common idea commercially viable for everyone and anyone who wanted a simple efficient system of composting and recycling.
- I wanted something that was easy to install, easy to remove, easy to use, required little to no work to install or maintain, didn’t look ugly and didn’t take up space in my garden…. Something that was safe, kept vermin and toddlers out…. Something that was light and easy for the elderly or young children to use…. Something that could fit either a small garden or large garden, that would suit a small family or large family, that was versatile enough for anyone and everyone…. And something that I just fill and forget about (no turning or emptying) till I needed to fill it again…….
- Hence the COMPOT was conceived.
- The lockable reversible lid evolved as I experimented with various ways and methods of direct composting, trying to make the COMPOT invisible in the garden and secure from animals. This now meant it could be mowed over, which is a bonus for me, as I mow right up to the trunk of a number of my trees that are not in a defined, edged garden space.
And then came the COMPOTTOP….
- The COMPOTTOP followed as I realized there was a use for the upturned lid. While not every gardener will want to use the COMPOTTOP, it’s a fun way to grow things from seed and a fun way for kids to learn about propagating. The Top can also be used directly in the garden eliminating one step in the propagation process. This, of course, is ideal for busy people like me, and more than anything it did not require any extra space!
- I honestly don’t have the time to compost using traditional composting methods, but with this method I do – so not only do I help the environment by recycling my waste, I have gained beautiful, healthy plants and soil. In addition, I reduced my council waste from one full rubbish bin each week, to less than a quarter full bin once a month. Unless I have palm fronds which I confess I put in my council bins because we don’t have a separate green waste bin in my area. But I can now trade in my big council bin for a cheaper smaller bin and thus reduce my council rubbish costs.
Composting with Black Soldier Flies is way more efficient than many other methods of composting because you can feed them ALL kinds of biodegradable matter.
When I began composting with Black Soldier Flies inside the Compot back in 2009 there was very little information available online. Most people in Australia had never heard of them. Information is now readily available about composting with Black Soldier Flies. Many companies now experiment with them for waste disposal and a protein-rich food source for animals.
Since launching the Compot in 2013, I have spent hundreds of hours speaking to people about using these special little critters as composters in a Compot. Lots of people have found them in their worm farms. Thinking they were house fly maggots they tried numerous methods of eradication only to find they’d reappear.
Once the Soldier Flies finds your worm farm it is difficult to eradicate them. With a little effort and experimenting, you can find just the right spot in your garden where (for whatever reason) the Soldier Flies don’t go. Some people are lucky but most aren’t.
Are they bad in a worm farm?
Composting with Black Soldier Flies in a worm farm is not ideal. Using them above ground creates a foul odour. And they will slowly crowd out your worms. Or eat all the food leaving nothing for the worms. Worms are self-regulating so will most likely eat each other at this point.
Plus the leachate the larvae produce is too acidic for the worms in the early stages of its decomposition. The worms can’t escape from this is a worm farm. In the ground, they will move away from the leachate until it is safe for them to consume it.
The Black Soldier Fly Larvae have been known to block the drain at the base of a worm farm causing worms to drown as the liquid can’t escape. This requires a complete overhaul of your worm farm. But don’t throw these little guys away. Put them on your garden bed. They will continue to decompose your waste or become food for garden critters. Lizards, birds, chooks, and fish love them. They make great bait for fishing enthusiasts. This can be a smelly process. Much easier to use a Compot. But it does, of course, depend on your preferred method of waste disposal.
Black Soldier Flies are way more efficient at waste disposal than worms. Try and find a way to make them work for you.
The mature fly is roughly the length of your thumbnail. Long skinny and of course black. In some countries, they can vary in colour. Though they have no real mouth with which to eat food or bite you, they can suck up nectar or water to survive long enough to find a partner, mate and lay their eggs. Unfortunately, they die after mating and egg laying. Such is the life of the Soldier Fly.
If you happen to find one in your house he has most likely lost his way. Or you have something rotting in your kitchen that has attracted them. They’re easy to catch and relocate outside the house. It is best not to kill these little guys because they are so valuable for composting and waste disposal. As there are so many of them it doesn’t really matter if one dies a little earlier than he should. But better to just release them outside.
If you watch the video at the beginning of this article about composting with Black Soldier Flies, you will see a container with some ham covered in house flies. There are in fact heaps of Soldier Flies mixed in with this waste. The blow flies are not deterred at this stage by the Soldier Flies. But the Soldier Flies will take over the space and most likely eat the fly larvae.
In the above picture, you can see house flies trying to get out of the Compot. It is possible inside the Compot that the fermented smell of the food along with a fermone that the Soldier Fly produces, is enough to drive the flies crazy and scare them off. You can see them desperately trying to get out through the holes in the lid of the Compot (in the video).
It is unusual to get house flies in your Compot but if you do don’t worry as they are part of the decomposition process and will die in there as they can’t find their way out.
Covering your Compot with a suitable cover will keep the hot air out in summer and the cold air out in winter plus prevent house flies from managing to find a way in. If they are buzzing around your Compot you haven’t covered it properly. This is only necessary for the house flies and vinegar flies as the Soldier Fly will usually find your waste even with a covering on your Compot.
Why is Composting with Black Soldier Flies so good?
- It is fast, efficient, and no hassle
- Soldier Flies are found almost everywhere but mostly in warm climates.
- You can feed them anything biodegradable
- Meat and fermented waste are one of their favorite foods
- No special conditions are required for them to thrive
- They love darkness when in their larval stage
- Unlike the good old house fly, they don’t carry diseases
- With no real mouth, they don’t bite or hang around your bar-b-q
- Frass and leachate – is amazing fertilizer for your garden
- They dispose of ALL your waste quicker than worms,
- Even good for human and animal waste.
- Maintenance is non-existent, unlike a worm farm or tumbler
- Go on holidays and they look after themselves
- When used in a Compot they will reduce your council waste by over 50% because you can feed them ALL your kitchen waste including meat, dairy, citrus, onions, oil, egg shells, fish, prawns, paper towels, absolutely anything bio-degradable.
If you find them in your garden be grateful. They are awesome.
We also sell Heritage Seeds 🙂