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Why is a compost heap so good for my wildlife garden?

By Rob 2 years ago

We all know the benefits of a compost heap in terms of enriching the soil, adding organic matter and recycling our green waste but they have the added benefit of being brilliant for your wildlife garden. Compost heaps are rich, moist, warm dark and rather cosy for many garden creatures.

The Big Bokashi-thon

By Heather 11 years ago

We are always being asked what to do with Bokashi Compost when it has finished pickling and how long it then takes to break down. This is a bit like one of those ‘How long is a piece of string?’ questions, but in a spirit of scientific exploration we decided to set up an experiment to find out.

First of all, don your white lab coat and the nerdy scientist’s specs, and pick up your clipboard. Now you can start the experiment...

When your bin is full, drain off any Bokashi Juice and feed to your plants or smelly drains (you might want to measure the quantity).

Seal your bokashi bin and leave it to ferment. Drain off any liquid in this time.

After 2 weeks it’s ready! Open it up and have a look. Is there any mould, if so what colour is it?
Now decide on your next step, here are some ideas:

  • Put it in your wormery (perhaps just half of the bin or less if your worms aren’t used to it.)

  • Put in your compost bin or heap (will you mix it in spread it in layers or just up-end the bucket, no doubt losing the sump at the same time – well that’s what happens with mine!)

  • Dig it into your garden. Again you can experiment with depths (although at least deep is recommended), layering or mixing it in).

Now it’s up to you to check it monthly, or more often and see what happens. Let us know your results.

Now if this was a really truly scientific experiment, we’d have weighed and noted the exact contents of the kitchen waste we were putting in to begin with, not to mention the amount of Bokashi Active Bran added as well. We’d probably record the air temperature where we left it to ferment, and for sure, we’d make sure we had a control bucket too, full of un-Bokashi’d waste.

We haven’t, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.
Here are some sites that you might want to take a look at to see how other people's experiments are going: The Wiggly Wigglers Facebook Group

Simon Sherlock’s blog

Podchef’s blog

Sunflower Stats

By Heather 11 years ago

Scientific name Helianthus comes from Helios meaning sun and Anthos meaning flower.
Used in China as a symbol of longevity.
Nothing is more likely to bring a smile to your face than the cheery sunflower. How about sending someone you know Farmer Phil's Box of Sunshine?
Flowers are great for attracting bees into your garden and birds just love sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts.
Largest sunflower head on record measured 32½ inches in diameter.
Oil for cooking can be extracted from sunflower seeds, with an average yield of 40%.
Wait until the sun has dried the dew before picking sunflowers and change vase water every few days to help prolong the life of the flowers.
European sunflowers provide leaves for smoking and flowers for dyes.
Record breaking tallest sunflower ever grown was 25 feet tall.
Stems were used to fill lifejackets before the advent of modern materials, can be used in your compost heap for aeration and also provide great homes for beneficial insects.

Turning heaps not heads

By Heather 11 years ago

I talked about the importance of keeping compost aerated in my Beginners Guide to Composting. This is important because the bacteria that break down the waste need oxygen to survive.

One of the ways that you can aerate the contents of your compost bin and thereby speed up the whole process is to turn the contents regularly.

In your compost heap the central area (the hottest part) will always be the most composted with the cooler outer areas being less so.

As to when, you should turn your compost heap a few weeks after you have finished adding material to it. If you are really keen you can turn it on a weekly basis which will speed up the whole process considerably.

To turn the heap, remove the contents, mix it up and return to the bin.

You will now find that you have introduced lots of air and less well composted material will make its way into the centre of the heap.

Turning a compost heap will also disturb any unwanted rodents lurking in the heap and help to move them on to pastures new.

International Downshifting Week

By Heather 11 years ago

It’s International Downshifting Week this week (19-25 April). Downshifting is about slowing down, leading a simpler life and looking at finding a better work/life balance.

Some of the suggestions on the official web site are:

  • Cook a meal from scratch, using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, preferably organic.

  • Plant something in the garden you can cultivate and eat.

  • Start a compost heap.
I like the time suggestion, which is to book a half-day off work and to spend entirely with someone you love, no DIY allowed! Except that I want my quarry tiles laid!!