To wriggle or rot?

3 Aug

I have been having a debate with myself for a little while now about whether to compost or worm farm.  Yes, I know, I think I might need to go and get myself something a little more interesting, and possibly a bit less smelly to think about.  Really, come on, I could be thinking about plants, flowers, vegetables, hell even mulch is better than compost.  But alas, my mind keeps wandering to whether we let nature or her wriggly friends do the work of turning our organics into garden gold.

I know this doesn’t make for the most exciting reading under normal circumstances, but I figure if I give it the Drawn Outdoors touch, maybe, just maybe I can make the art of decomposition a little bit more interesting.

I’m getting a bit sick of throwing out so much organic waste, when I know that with a little bit of organisation I can be turning this into fantastic free food for my yet to be constructed garden.  The vegie scraps I’m throwing out today could be working for me to feed the food I’m growing tomorrow.

I want to provide the Drama Queen and the Daredevil with a good understanding of how they can impact the earth they live on and the environment around them, and I want our little household to have the smallest impact on the earth as possible.  But what is the best option for us?  Not a huge dilemma, though getting it wrong can create some not so nice side effects. I know there are other fun options for getting rid of your organic scraps in a sustainable way – like keeping chickens (If you’re in Sydney check out Rent a Chook), but the reality is we don’t have so much space, so chooks are out of the question.  So the burning question is do we wriggle or rot??

Worm Farms

Worm farms are the more fun option, particularly if you have kids that aren’t too squeamish about wriggly things.  We don’t have pets, and worms could fill a bit of a gap in the family.  No, you can’t pat them or cuddle them and they won’t come when you call, but neither do fish, and they can teach the munchkins lessons in caring for other creatures.

The pros of the worm farm option are the amount of space required, the relative “tidyness”, their amazing efficiency and the lack of hard work required by us, theoretically the worms do the work for us then provide us with their liquid gold to help our garden grow.  But on the down side, the worms can be a little bit fussy, and if you don’t treat them the way they like then you may end up with not much wriggle going on in your farm.  While worm wee is fantastically full of garden goodness, it doesn’t provide organic matter to add to the texture of your garden soil.


Compost bins, piles or heaps take up a little bit more room and aren’t necessarily as pretty, and nowhere near as much fun.

So what’s the good, the bad and the unfortunately very ugly of compost??  The way I see it, Compost provides a superior product for your garden, not only do you get the nutrients, but you also get a great texture for your garden soil when mixed through.  Compost is nowhere near as fussy as worms, so you can put almost any organic waste into a compost heap.  The down side is they need a bit more work from us.  Turning, mixing and then spreading the compost requires a lot more work than the worms do, and the space requirement is a bit of an issue for us.  Compost bins or heaps need some space to work efficiently and to be able to be turned and mixed, and space is on short supply here.  And the last down side of compost is that it’s not really all that attractive, and it’s better left out of sight but not out of mind.

The Verdict – Wriggle or rot?

In the perfect world I would do both, but in reality I think worms are our best option.  Worms will take up a lot less space, and maybe we could even store them in the garage and then they won’t take up any of our valuable outdoor space.  The Munchkins will get a little lesson in caring for other creatures, neither of them are too squeamish.  So wriggle is the winner for us.

Maybe I can convince the Strata here to have a communal compost (though this is fraught with management issues to tackle) and we could have the best of both worlds and spread a little bit of green.

This weekend I might go and find us a new pet farm for the Munchkins and turn our waste to good!



7 Responses to “To wriggle or rot?”

  1. Clair August 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    We love our worm farm. They aren’t too fussy, just the obvious no citrus or oniony type things. They are also not too fond of avocado skin.

    The worm castings are a wonderful addition to your soil, and definitely add texture! It’s not only the wee that is useful.

    • drawnoutdoors August 3, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

      Definitely, yes the castings are great too, we definitely will need more texture in our soil!

  2. shanegenziuk August 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Worm farms are great fun and kids love them. Plus I collect heaps of coffee grounds which they readily devour! Great post. Cheers, Shane.

    • drawnoutdoors August 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks Shane! That also gives us a great excuse to have good coffee!

  3. Slowvelder September 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Probably a little late to comment on this post but I will anyway 🙂
    I did all this reasoning myself some time back and came to the same conclusion. Got my worms which are fantastic but I found I still needed to compost too – so in the end I have both and am very glad for it. My worms get the kitchen scraps and a few newspapers, my compost gets the more bulky items like plant cuttings, autumn leaves and grass as well as surplus kitchen leftovers that the worms cant take (sometimes the worms have enough food) and cardboard boxes etc.

    • drawnoutdoors September 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

      No, it’s never too late to comment! We still don’t have our worms, and I’m sure we will need the compost too. But, due to a lack of space, I think we will have to either convince the body corporate for a communal compost that can be used on the common garden areas or just have to bin the rest. My munchkins have started asking for pets, I’m hoping that worms might be good enough, but I think it’s only wishful thinking! I’m off to post something for Rhino day now!


  1. Farewell to summer « drawnoutdoors - March 16, 2012

    […] 4. Recycle it If you haven’t started a compost pile yet, then now is the perfect time to do it. You’re going to have heaps of pruning and culled plants after you’ve given your garden a hair cut, plus you have all the leaves that your deciduous trees have shed, so give them a suitable place to rot so you can re-use them on your garden as yummy compost. I’ve written about compost and worm farms before, so you can check it out here at To wriggle or rot […]

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