Compost


Slowly I’m catching up with all the fun things we’ve been up to this year. Back in August the old plastic compost bin we inherited with the house finally started to collapse, leaving us with a leaning-tower-of-compost. Compost is such crucial food for our depleted soil we decided that a serious solution was in order. I’d heard about people building compost bins out of pallets, so we gave it a go, with the help of this “How to build a compost bin from pallets” tutorial from Gardeners World, and the left-over Aquaponic gravel pallets.

I’ve hacked space for them out of the 2m-thick evergreen hedge at the bottom of the garden, behind the polytunnel. and made two at once. It was a pretty easy one-person job:

They’ve been great – we have one-and-a-half full, so nw we’re just waiting to see how the first lot turns out. I already have plans to add a third!

wastebuster-maxiPutting out the rubbish is always one of those contentious jobs in our house. It’s never really been clear whose job it is (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) so the bin gets more and more packed full of decomposing leftovers until emptying is incredibly unpleasant and smelly.

But no more! In our new house we’re going to compost everything that we can, with the ultimate aim of never needing a plastic rubbish bag again. Anything squishy should be being composted. End of story. Once our Aquaponics system is up and running I want to have a Black Soldier Fly composting system which will take everything – including meat, fish, eggs, dairy – and which will also provide larvae to feed to our fish. I’m never one to depend on just one solution or species though, so we’re also going to try out a wormery first. This should get us started, but can’t take all the trickier waste.

Inspired by Compost Awareness Week, I found a whole heap of great links on www.homecomposting.org.uk, so here’s what I now know about wormeries:

  • They use different worms to those you’ll usually find in the ground
  • You can feed the worms to fish 🙂
  • Don’t trust the legs on them – a full wormery can be pretty heavy
  • You’re better off with one that is wider rather than deeper – gets more air to the compost
  • Worms eat loads (up to their body weight each day) 
  • They breed fast, but won’t over populate
  • They don’t need daily attention – they’ll survive a good holiday as long as you feed them properly

You can make your own wormery, and buy the worms separately, but when getting started the best thing to do seems to be to buy a complete kit. There are lots of these available, and a quick look seems to suggest that the Wormcity EcoWormery is the best buy – for  £40. I’ll add it to my shopping list!

Wormery Suppliers

go_logo50Now this seems like another joke post . . . but it isn’t there really is a Compost Awareness Week. It’s being run by the fantastic bunch over at Garden Organic, who really seem to be at the forefront of all the issues surrounding getting people in Britain growing sustainably. as one of their initiatives they’ve setup a website dedicated to encouraging home composting (www.homecomposting.org.uk) and are busy assembling a national network of Master Composters to help out those of us who never have much luck! This year I think we’ll try out a wormery, and when I get my Aquaponics system up and running I want to try a Black Soldier Fly composting system, which will compost pretty much anything (including meat scraps) and will then produce larvae that can be fed to the fish in the Aquaponics system.

Anyway, don’t miss it 🙂 – Compost Awareness Week is Sunday 3 – Saturday 9 May 2009.  Keep an eye on www.homecomposting.org.uk for details of local events.