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We have already published dozens of advice articles in the Gartenjournal about compost itself and what it is good for, and there is probably hardly a reader of our news who does not have at least one of these useful piles between their beds and shrubs. But let's all be honest: doesn't it sometimes look ridiculous and more like a heap of garden waste? Apart from the fact that it keeps getting fuller and higher, nothing often happens, no wonder that such neglect makes it difficult to produce high-quality compost soil over the long term.

A few minutes each week are enough to eliminate this chaos and it works like this:

  • The content in the composter is not decomposed: activate rotting by regular watering; work with shades when the sun is too strong; remove any composter cover; if necessary, relocate the entire heap and start anew in layers;
  • Unpleasant odors and muddy contents: The cause is usually excessive humidity or poor ventilation in the lower layers; it would be helpful to cover the pile for a period of time while still allowing for good ventilation; remove the upper layers and loosen the rest near the ground with a pitchfork; an intermediate layer with wood chips (€23.53) ensures better moisture exchange inside;
  • Compost starts to rot: Usually the only thing that helps here is to generously remove the mold-infested layers and dispose of them in the local landfill for garden waste; The main cause is often kitchen waste, which actually has no place on the compost heap;
  • Rats, mice, snails and maggots: here, too, it is often the deposited leftovers, especially those from fruit and vegetables, but also egg shells, that cause rot and lack of oxygen in the composter and thus attract all sorts of unwanted creatures; if possible, sort out all sources of rot and turn the compost completely in a timely manner;
  • heavy weed growth on sides and surface: garden waste is best shredded thoroughly immediately after weeding; diseased parts of plants, brown tomatoes or heavily rotting fruit with mildew, on the other hand, do not belong in the compost at all; Here, too, only full implementation of the entire content helps in the event of heavy weed infestation;

The question arises: What is the best thing to do with our kitchen waste and how can compost soil be improved in general?

Worm boxes could be THE problem solver!

With this relatively simple solution, we kill the proverbial "two birds with one stone". The naturally bred worms contribute to a much better decomposition of the garden waste to be composted and, quite incidentally, you get rid of a considerable part of the kitchen waste. And there are a few other benefits of letting worms do the work of creating fertile humus soil for our gardens:

  • the organic compost material is decomposed more quickly by worms, but also much more thoroughly; released nutrients are bound better and are later available to the plant roots on the beds;
  • Compost becomes looser throughout the rotting period as the worms ensure a balanced supply of water and oxygen within the composter;
  • many small tunnels dug by the worms contribute to the perfect aeration of the compost material;
  • Favorable formation of the pH value within the decomposed compost soil; Plants can later take up more nitrogen in the soil, giving them excellent disease resistance;
  • Compost worms are hardy animals and do their job even in severe frosts, as they retreat to the warmer regions of the compost bin;

The question remains as to how you, as a garden owner, can get hold of the useful, waste-eating compost worms. It's easy with an eco-friendly worm box that you can build yourself or buy ready-made.

Which brings us to our first book tip for January. "Compost from the box" is the title of the guide published by Ulmer Verlag, which gives you an entertaining way of getting your own worm farm. You will learn interesting facts about the biology of the useful compost worms, you will receive precise building instructions, and after studying the 96-page book you will know how a worm box works and how it is best operated. Perhaps one or the other of you already has experience with beneficial insects on the compost? We look forward to your opinions in our forum! And that brings us to the last post, our book recommendation, which is also about experiences, but which are aimed at a particularly elite group of people.

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