It would surely come as no surprise that we love composting. It’s an awesome, natural and sustainable way to provide nutrients to your green babies, all while repurposing food waste and minimising your contribution to landfill - a no brainer. It can be a tricky process to perfect, but is super rewarding when you get it right - both in results and in greenthumb pride, of course.
But, when it comes to your indoor plants, there are a few risks involved in using compost that are seldom spoken about. So (like a good compost) we've broken down the issues and given you some handy tips to avoid any of your own FOGO fiascos!
If you’ve ever had a compost bin in your kitchen, you may already know that they’re the preferred hang-out spot of the pest we all love to hate: fungus gnats. These guys love breeding in compost, so if you do see any hanging around, you can pretty much guarantee that there’ll be eggs and larvae in the mix. Using that on your indoor plants will almost always result in transfer, and - as discussed in our last post - fungus gnats can harm your plants if left unchecked. There’s also always potential for other creepy crawlies to make their way into your indoor jungle, particularly if your compost is kept in the garden. Unwanted guests - especially from garden compost - may include centipedes, millipedes, slugs and mites.
How to help: Chuck some dried leaves or straw to your mix to keep moisture levels low and refrain from adding meat and dairy to your compost.
Composting takes a bit of time and diligence to get right, and keep right. Care needs to be taken to ensure that it’s being moved and mixed a few times a week, that it maintains correct moisture to compost, and that only suitable organic materials are being added. This might all be a bit much for the lazy plant keepers out there (like us) and the result of negligence is stinky pile of food scraps that's of no use to you or your plants!
How to help: Cut your scraps into smaller pieces to decompose quicker. Check moisture and turn and mix the compost regularly. Dig scraps into the lower layers instead of leaving them on top.
DISEASE & INFECTION
Any decaying organic matter will be packed full of bacteria. Some will obviously be the good kind that plants love having around, but some could be the bad, disease causing type that nobody wants. If your plants are in a weakened or stressed state, they may be particularly susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections introduced through your compost.
How to help: Never add diseased organic materials to your bin. Maintain a balanced moisture level and aeration - too much moisture will kill the microorganisms and your mix will rot instead of compost.
QUALITY OF OUTPUT
Some of the biggest issues with composting are disparities in quality and the lack of accurate knowledge of nutrient levels. Inconsistent maintenance, cooler temperatures and unknown chemicals and pesticides introduced by store-bought veg are just some of the myriad of issues that could inhibit your efforts. When your compost doesn’t go the way you’d like and it’s not doing its intended job, you may need to supplement with other fertilisers - which might leave you thinking ‘what’s the point, then?’
How to help: Maintain a balance between brown (dried leaves, straw, paper, etc.) and green materials (fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grinds, plant clippings, etc.) Only add recommended materials to your bin and use organic and untreated materials where possible.
Composting is a noble pursuit, but it doesn't come without its hurdles. Maybe at this point you're questioning if there's an easier alternative to get all that microbial goodness to your plants... Luckily, your favourite plant care brand can provide all of that, without any of the mishaps. Our worms are the middle-man, composting organic waste that would otherwise go to landfill into nutrient-dense, bioactive fertiliser. No pests, no disease, no maintenance and low odour - with maximum efficacy.
We'll always love our compost for the garden, but we'll be sticking to our essentials for our indoor jungles.