Compost Celebrations across west London
Throughout May (and a little bit of June) we celebrated compost awareness by hosting a series of Compost Celebrations!
We kicked off this year’s events on 16th May in Ealing alongside Ealing Council and our Compost Experts, with 20 tonnes of compost being delivered to Walpole Park. Regulars lined up early, ready to get their hands on some of the brown stuff!
By 10:40am they had already made quite a dent in the mound
The 20 tonne summit was conquered by over 270 people turning up with bags, buckets, sacks and wheelbarrows in hand.
The compost celebration then headed to Brent over the bank holiday weekend where we were joined by Veolia on behalf of Brent Council, our Compost Experts and Field to Fork organics.
Hounslow’s giveaway was held alongside the Church Road Allotment open day and received lots of support from local groups. With Hounslow’s Council Recycling Team, Groundworks, Hate Crime Support, Hounslow Volunteers, Cultivate London and Streetbank turning up to talk to residents about what they do.
A big thank you to Church Road Allotments for letting us hold the giveaway there. It’s a lovely place and such a surprise that there are still plots available so if you are thinking about growing your own find out more about the allotment.
On the last day of May we were at West Harrow Recreation Ground, where Harrow in Leaf was selling some beautiful plants at brilliant prices. Harrow’s Recycling Officers were also on hand to answer any questions and gave out some much desired food caddies.
The event had a great community feel about it with three residents from St John Lambs Court in Harrow Weald coming down for some compost to help them spruce up their sheltered housing block for their entry into the Harrow in Bloom competition. It was good chatting with them and hearing how enthused they were to actually see what their food waste gets turned into. They went back with a renewed vigour that no food waste would be ending up in their refuse!
Our final event took place on 6 June at Palewell Common in Richmond where we were joined by Richmond Council’s recycling team. The compost, not the usual sight in the park brought down a number of residents who, like residents from other areas talked to us about reducing food waste, recycling more and composting in their garden at home.
What the compost experts had to say
“At the celebrations, it was great to see so many residents taking an interest in starting to compost at home.” So we asked our Compost Experts what advice they would give to beginners:
- Don’t be afraid. Anything organic will rot and produce compost but best to stick to the easy stuff like garden waste and cardboard.
- Make sure you have even amounts of greens and browns. Greens are your veg and fruit peelings and your green garden waste. Browns are your egg boxes, shredded newspaper and cardboard.
- Be patient – composting at home can take up to 2 years to start working properly
- Turn your compost at once a year. If you have a dalek type bin then lift it off, knock over the pile, remove any decent compost from the bottom and use it, then shovel everything else back into the bin.
Remember if you are looking to start composting, discount bins can be purchased.
The experts then told us a few of the more challenging questions they’ve had at the events:
Q: Can you compost Leylandii leaves and stems?
A: Yes but they will produce quite an acidic compost so only if you have a need for ericaceous compost in large quantities and don’t mind waiting a few years as they break down quite slowly. Best to put it in the Council green waste collection.
Q: Which weeds can I compost?
A: Any weeds in theory though avoid the seeds if they have finished flowering and any main root systems. Avoid anything pernicious like knotweed or couch grass.
Q: I have built a wormery out of an old kitchen sink. Can you check if my design will function and will I keep needing to put worms in it?
A: In theory your design should work as long as there is an effective drainage system – you don’t want the worms to drown, so as long as you can keep the plug free from blockages it should work. Similarly you don’t want the thing drying out so if you can fashion a lid for it with some airspace underneath that would also be good. Air holes are also important as you don’t want the little worms to suffocate. Feed them a little and often rather than big amounts infrequently. Regulate their food – not too much acidic stuff like orange peel though a bit is fine. If you start seeing large numbers of tiny white worms then it has become too acid. If you satisfy all these conditions then in theory you should need only a single batch of Tiger Worms, available online or at any fishing supplies store, which should reproduce to meet your feed levels.
A wormery out of a kitchen sink! What a brilliant piece of reuse, we’re just happy the design got our experts approval!