Monday 8 May 2017

International Compost Awareness Week 2017

Yesterday saw the start of this year's International Compost Awareness Week 2017. It may not be the most well-known of awareness weeks but to a gardener and allotmenteer the importance of compost cannot be underestimated!

Since getting our allotment we have been trialling different methods of growing and noting the results. One of the reasons we wanted an allotment was because we wanted control over what would go into our food. One of the essential components of this is the compost we use and how we use it.

There are various ways of composting and using compost so in the spirit of compost awareness here's some of the less well-known methods.

No-dig – Many people don't understand the concept of no-dig gardening but it is really quite simple. Instead of turning over the soil each year and digging in compost you simply cover the area with your chosen compost. Weeds need light to grow so in time they will be smothered and die. Instead of disturbing the soil by digging you are adding nutrients to it with each layer of compost.

Cover crops – I've seen cover crops for a garden used in various locations before. One was at the kitchen garden at Longshaw in the Peak District where mustard seeds was being grown so it could be dug into the ground later. By covering an area with crops over the winter it helps to keep in nutrients which could be washed or eroded away by the rain or wind. By growing crops you are also minimising weeds.

Worm composting – Every gardener knows what good work worms do to the soil. You can buy wormeries for home use. These consist of two containers which are placed on top of each other. The top one is where you put in the kitchen waste and where the worms do their work. Underneath is where the composting liquid gathers. You do need special worms for using in a wormery and you can only top it up with small quantities of material at a time.

Green Johanna – If you use a standard plastic composter at home you'll know that you can only put raw fruit and vegetable scraps and peelings in it and no cooked food. The Green Johanna Hot Composter allows cooked food to be put into it including cooked meat, fish and bones. As it works as hot composter it can be used all year round.

Composting toilet – Perhaps one for the more dedicated composters! It doesn't take much imagination to work what makes the compost but remember at times it isn't easy being green!

Do you compost at home? What is your preferred method?

This is a collaborative post.

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