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Composting

Composting

Wiggly Ideas for Composting your Kitchen and Garden Waste

Great for the Planet and for you (especially if you grow your own food)

Turning kitchen and garden waste into compost not only improves your soil and thereby the quality of your fruit and vegetables, it is environmentally sound because it reduces the amount of rubbish that needs carting away every week by the bin men and ends up in landfill sites.

Easy to do...

Composting suffers from the tag of being ‘dirty’ and labour-intensive, but neither has to be the case these days. There are many composting methods around, some of which fit in with even city slicker lifestyles.

The simplest system – known as cold composting – is to pile your grass cuttings, plant prunings, kitchen vegetable waste and non-seeding weeds into a corner and allow them to break down. This has the disadvantage of being a rather slow method of making compost – the process can take up to a year – but the advantage of creating a really good wildlife habitat that is only occasionally disturbed. All kinds of creatures will inhabit a compost heap like this, from the bacteria and worms that help to ferment the plant matter to toads, newts and hedgehogs looking for warmth, shelter or food.v

If this is your preferred method of recycling organic waste, it helps to make sure that you have a good variety of material in your heap. Plenty of dry matter such as plant stems and cuttings should be mixed with the more sappy wet material like grass cuttings. Cardboard, from toilet roll holders to (free range, of course) egg boxes, can also be included.

A basic compost pile can be improved by putting your waste into a compost container, which helps to keep the contents warm and damp, thus aiding decomposition. Turning the material from time to time ensures that it is aerated and encourages your plant material to break down more quickly. The heat built up during this natural process not only speeds everything up but also kills off dangerous pathogens, making the finished compost clean, crumbly and ready to return nourishing goodness to the soil.

Compost containers come in all shapes and sizes: one of the funkiest around is shaped like beehive. It’s so attractive you can nestle it in amongst your vegetables rather than banishing it to behind the shed. The timber is treated to last but don't let that put you off painting it a jolly colour if you want to... For a real workhorse our favourite composter is the double bay modular. It lasts for years and years and it's brilliant for easy loading and easy access of compost.

Best Garden Composter for Beginners

We think it's a double bay modular. It's practical, a good size and allows easy loading and access to the finished product.

What to do with your Kitchen Waste.

For your kitchen waste, when you really can’t be bothered to walk to the end of the garden, the answer is Bokashi. Rather than using worms an aerobic micro-organisms (those that need air to work) to break down kitchen waste, this method uses a combination of anaerobic microbes including bacteria, yeasts and fungi. Bokashi was originally researched and developed in Japan, but is now used in many countries to increase soil fertility and reduce the amount of material ending up in landfill sites.

The system uses a special bucket with a tight-fitting lid that can be used in a kitchen or office – anywhere, in fact, that food waste is produced. Composting with Bokashi is really simple: the waste is placed in the bucket and sprinkled with a layer of bran containing the micro-organisms. It is then squashed down and the lid is added to keep out the air (and the smell!) Two weeks later the contents will not have changed much in appearance, but when placed in an outdoor compost heap or added directly to a vegetable bed, the partially fermented organic matter almost immediately disappears, quickly and effectively adding vitamins and other nutrients to the soil. The natural soil organisms as well as your plants benefit enormously from the increased nutrients and humus. The liquid feed produced can be drained out of the bucket using the tap and used as a great drain cleaner! Composting with Bokashi is great if you have a tiny garden or even no garden at all and users of the system report that no further compost is needed to grow fantastic fruit and vegetables.

Best Kitchen Composter for Beginners

We think it's the new Urban Composters. Choose the value pack for a complete kit with instructions that will look great and do the job on all your kitchen waste whether cooked or not.

To Conclude...

It doesn’t really matter which method of composting you use – as long as you use one! Fruit, vegetables and herbs will grow more happily in a well-nourished soil, giving you a bigger, tastier crop in return.

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