Frequently asked questions here!

General questions

Why compost?

Composting your organic waste makes your bin lighter: it's practical and environmentally friendly because otherwise it is incinerated with other waste. It allows you to recover a resource: organic matter should always return to nature and thus perpetuate the cycle.

Will my friends and family make fun of me?

If they love you, they shouldn't make fun of you. Especially since: 1. it's not nice and 2. You are right. If this should happen, don't hesitate to share your concerns with us and we will be happy to suggest parades that will get everyone (or almost everyone) to agree.

What is the difference between compost and vermicompost?

Composting is a general term that includes different methods. Vermicompost is produced by specific worms, Eisenia fœtida in general but also Eisenia Hortensis and Dendrobaena veneta. This practice is particularly suitable for domestic use, both indoors and outdoors. In most of the large composters that can be installed in a garden, the worms come spontaneously and are therefore just as present and active as in a vermicomposter.

Do we have to have worms?

YES! In the composter flowerpot, this is essential because it is a vermicomposter. This process allows for complete composting of your waste, and the compost that comes out is usable as it is: it looks like compost, except that it is richer in nutrients.

Honestly, does it stink?

No, vermicomposting does not give off bad smells. Be sure to follow the list of things to put in and things to ban, and don't forget to bring in dry matter very regularly. A little note of "undergrowth" could even come out of it! Closed cap, in any case, no smell is guaranteed!

Is it dirty?

No, it's not dirty. You have to keep a touch of common sense though. Always wash your hands and those of your children after handling the compost.

What to do with the compost?

Vermicompost is the best natural fertilizer of all time. If you use your pot on a daily basis, you will need to harvest regularly, every 3 to 6 months (you must observe the maturity of the compost). The first harvest is usually done after 6 to 8 months. You can use it as an addition of soil in the flowerpot part (you will find that the level of soil on the flowerpot side decreases over time).

You can also use it to feed all the plants in your home, those of your neighbours, the trees in your yard or on the street. At worst, keep it in a bag for future generations who [as in Waterworld] will kill each other for a bit of dirt.

Questions about the plants to be installed

Which plant(s) can be installed in a compost flowerpot?

We offer a few ideas in our user guide but there is no exhaustive list. It is up to each person to experiment according to their desires, the positioning of their pot indoors or outdoors and their exposure. You simply need to find out about the plants before installing them: for example, most aromatics find it difficult to live for long periods indoors without a lamp.

Can I use my pot without putting a plant in it?

If you install potting soil in the plant part, you can start the vermicomposter. The plant is not essential for the operation of the composting flowerpot.

Can I install a plant without using the composter part?

Of course! Take the time you need to start the vermicomposter, you have to be reactive to receive the worms and be ready to install everything so no stress once the plant is installed, you have all the time you need to move on to installing the worms. Remember to water it!

Should I repot my plant?

Not necessarily because the pot is continuously supplied with nutrients. However, after several years and depending on the evolution of your plant, it may need a larger pot. Also, if you have installed annual plants (vegetables, some herbs, etc.), you will have to remove them anyway when they have wilted. Of course you can leave the soil to rest until you find something else, or wait until the sowing season to start again.

Help!

My pot arrived damaged or broken, what can I do?

Please contact us as soon as possible at contact@lestransfarmers.com.

I can't get rid of the midges

You are losing patience. Gnats have reproduced exponentially and you have neither the time nor the desire to take care of them.

  • If you have the opportunity, put your pot outside and they will bother you much less! Gnats do not interfere with the operation. This will allow you not to worry about them for a while, and depending on the time you have in front of you, you can continue to feed your pot, but don't forget to cover it with cardboard each time you bring it in. If you have to bring it in soon, cover it with cardboard and stop feeding it for a while, until there are no more midges.
     
  • You are inside and have no choice. Cover it with cardboard, stop feeding it, place traps: yellow glue traps, vinegar traps, and let the soil of your plant dry out. You can also cover the soil with clay balls. Suck up what you can by opening the plugs from time to time. Cover your fruit, following the recommendations in the guide. If the midges come out through the corks, you can put a cloth tightened with an elastic band over the top cork.
     
  • If you don't make it, let us know and we will try to find a solution together!

 

My plant is doing badly!

Now is the time to learn! We can't give you specific advice here because we don't know which plant has taken up residence in your pot. You should check the needs of your plant, for example on the internet. If you can't think of anything else to do and the situation gets worse, you should know that no one can control everything, and that death is part of life. If it ends up being left behind, collect yourself and don't let it get you down. Set up a new one following our recommendations in the guide.

My worms are running away!

This is very rare with Eisenia fetida but can happen. It is a sign of an imbalance that pushes them to flee. You will find them around the pot, probably all dry because they can't go far outside a wet environment. It is possible that the phenomenon is temporary and only affects a small number of individuals (in fact there are about 500 at the start so the loss of 10 or 20 worms has little impact. However, the question must be studied to prevent the others from escaping).

Possible reasons:

• They are too hot. If your jar is in a very hot place, they may want to escape to go cool. Unfortunately this is fatal for them! Try to position your pot in a place with a cooler temperature.

• They have nothing to eat: but feed them for God's sake! This scenario is unlikely, but if you have forgotten them for several months, they may indeed feel the need to move.

• The environment is too acidic: put powdered eggshells in your compost. Perhaps you are not putting in enough dry matter: remember to put in paper and cardboard regularly.

• Perhaps one food is scaring them away: have you eaten too many leeks? Have you thrown away a regiment of garlic cloves without thinking? If you find the culprit, try to get it out of the jar and put some paper and "friendly" peels back in.

My compost bin looks too dry/moist

If you put in a lot of dry matter, your compost may be too dry, which can be problematic for both the plant and the worms. If this is the case, you can water the plant and the moisture will be distributed throughout the pot. Check regularly and repeat the operation if necessary. The appearance of ants in a compost could be a sign that the environment is too dry.

Conversely, and more frequently, your compost may be too wet if you don't put in enough dry matter. Compost that is too wet is easily recognised (more "sticky", less structured and more smelly). Add a good amount of shredded paper / cardboard to balance this out.

My compost bin smells bad

It may be suffering from one of the problems mentioned above: presence of unwanted waste, too much humidity... Try to find its origin and act accordingly. If the situation does not improve, do not hesitate to contact us.

I have a problem and I can't find the answer here!

Please contact us as soon as possible at contact@lestransfarmers.com or at facebook.

Orders and deliveries

Delivery of the compost flower pots is carried out by Chronopost. We recommend that you check your information (postal address, e-mail address and telephone number) in order to receive notifications. We have studied the packaging to protect the pot during transport, but as it is fragile, it is preferable to receive it at the first attempt in order to avoid unnecessary transport.

During shipment, a tracking number is communicated and offers the possibility to choose different delivery slots or to add information.

Before accepting the package, it is important to check its condition as far as possible (if the package makes a noise of broken dishes, this is not normal).

The worms are delivered separately, directly from our partner breeder. If the worms are ordered in a pot + worm pack, they will only be shipped on request using a promotional code that can be used on the site to give the user time to start their pot (allow 5 to 7 days for delivery).

For any problem or request for information write to us at contact@lestransfarmers.com

Good practices

What am I allowed to put in my pot or not?

As a general rule, only waste of plant origin is deposited. You can throw away all your peels, cores, raw fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, etc., but you should avoid them:

  • citrus fruits
  • garlic and onion and leek

You can cut the thicker fruit and vegetable peels into small pieces, so that they will be better assimilated. However, we do not recommend mixing the peels, as this would make a porridge that would release too much water too quickly.

The addition of bread or baked or seasoned products should be avoided as this can create a nuisance.

For a good balance and a successful compost, it is essential to add dry matter regularly, ideally at each addition and cut into small pieces:

  • rolls of toilet paper
  • handkerchiefs, used paper / paper towels
  • corrugated cardboard (shipping cartons)
  • food cardboard

If necessary, the compost can be stirred from time to time with a large stick to aerate it and distribute the dry matter. This is necessary if the compost has become too moist and smelly: add a good amount of cardboard and stir.

Finally, if you eat eggs, you can let the shells dry in a special container and then grind them into powder before feeding them to your worms: they love them and the compost will be even better. This balances the PH of your compost.

How much waste can I put in the compost bin?

At full capacity, 1.5 to 2 litres of rubbish can be thrown away per week. Of course, experts will be able to improve the yield by cutting everything into small pieces or by harvesting the compost more often, for example.

I'm going on holiday, what can I do?

Nothing! Just make sure that the pot has a minimum of food for worms, in a place that does not risk the heat wave (both for your plant and for your worms). You can go away for 4 to 5 weeks at a time. If you have a plant that needs regular watering, think about installing an olla in your pot!

Care and life of the composting flowerpot

How do I clean my pot?

Your active pot will metamorphose over time. Patterns will appear, its colour will change and evolve. If some of these imprints will remain forever, it is possible to clean the outside of the pot regularly to take care of it.

The natural terracotta pots are treated with linseed oil by us, in order to protect the terracotta and slow down the appearance of saltpetre and stains. This treatment can be reapplied according to the wishes of the user. Linseed oil is a natural product that is easy to find off the shelf.

For regular maintenance: when dry, use a cloth or microfibre cloth to gently rub its surface and remove any particles (dirt, dust, saltpetre, moisture marks) that may have settled on it. For tougher marks from the outside (the child who drew on it, the shoe mark of the child who negligently bumped into it), wet a cloth and rub it with a little white vinegar (optional).

If nothing works and you make stains worse than you erase them, learn to put things into perspective: it doesn't matter, it's life, and that's what makes you as unique as your pot.

How to avoid midges

There are several types of midges that may bother you, the three main ones being the following:

Sciarids (or soil flies): small black flies that often flutter around houseplants. They like to lay their eggs in damp soil.

Drosophila (fruit flies, vinegar flies): small orange flies with red eyes and good reflexes. They are attracted by sweet matter that ferments to lay their eggs.

Psychodidae (sink flies): Less common, they like drains. Hard to miss them with their Batman-like appearance!

Their objective is to conquer the world and their method is always the same: to make children who will make children who will make children. From generation to generation, their life is all about laying eggs, eating and reproducing.

Midges begin their existence in eggs that develop into tiny larvae and feed on decaying material. They then develop into adult midges ready to reproduce. After laying their eggs, they die quickly to make way for the next generation. In addition to being fast, their cycle is very prolific (one adult lays between 50 and 300 eggs).

How to avoid them?

If midges appear in your compost bin, it is probably because eggs have been introduced into it with the waste you have thrown in.

The first preventive measure is therefore to avoid introducing (almost invisible) midge eggs or midges into the compost bin.

To do this:

  1. Leave the compost bin plugs closed.
     
  2. Cover or store your fruit and vegetables to prevent a gnat from laying on its skin (fruit bell / airy cupboard or pantry / fridge...).
     
  3. Do not leave your compostable waste lying around after cooking and put it quickly in the compost bin.
     
  4. If you use an intermediate storage container in your kitchen, make sure that it is "fly-proof" but not completely airtight, otherwise the waste may pre-ferment. Cover it with a gauze or cloth for example.
     
  5. Put cardboard cut-outs or paper after each waste supply. This balances the compost and hinders the fly that would like to access the waste.

Be alert for any signs of wing flapping. Apply the above tips to avoid climbing and invasion.

Your potting soil on the plant side becomes interesting for sciarids if it is moist on the surface. Do not hesitate to keep this surface dry for a long time at the first signs of flies. The composting flowerpot can largely do without watering for several weeks.

How to get rid of them?

What might appear to be a small attack can degenerate in a few days from 3 gnats to hundreds. It is therefore important to prepare in advance, just in case.

Prepare yourself mentally for not being able to use your compost bin for a few weeks while the invasion is contained.

Get the essential tools proposed in the following lines.

Once the offensive is launched, you must set traps for your opponent and block his natural cycle. Two actions combined give good results, preventing gnats from laying eggs and killing them. To do this, here is our advice:

  1. Forming a physical barrier
    Cut paper/cardboard into small pieces and fill the compost area to cover 10 cm of the waste.
  2. Placing traps
    The best trap is to fill one third of a glass with cider vinegar mixed with a drop of dishwashing liquid or soap. It can be placed directly in the compost bin above the cardboard layer and placed in various strategic places such as the kitchen.
  3. To evacuate the midges from the composter
    Do this regularly, the less midges, the less they will reproduce. When inside, use your vacuum cleaner, open the composter and suck the midges that come out. When outside, you can just open the bid to let them out, this method is cruelty free!
     
  4. Do not feed the compost bin for at least 3 weeks.
    In any case be patient and repeat the evacuation operation until no more midges escape, or even a little more. Then you can reuse the composting part of your pot, always taking care to put a layer of paper / cardboard after each feeding.

Making the compost flowerpot

How and where are the pots made and assembled?

The pots are handmade of natural terracotta near Troyes in France. The clay is poured into a mould, the extracted piece must then dry for several days before being fired in the kiln. We then apply a linseed oil treatment to each pot to protect the terracotta.

The corks are made of cork in a factory in Portugal, grooved by ourselves in Montpellier in order to fit a silicone seal made in France.

The inner wall is made in France from industrial plastic scrap. Colours may vary according to the mix 🙂

The tray is also made in France from paper covered with a thin layer of melamine for waterproofing.

The guide, illustrated by Chloé Kast is printed in France on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks.

Everything is assembled and then shipped from Montpellier!