We’re at the end of Peat Free April, and this will have influenced lots of people to stop buying peat-based compost for good, helping to protect endangered habitats and prevent greenhouse gas emissions.
But what with the renaissance in British gardening, commercial peat-free compost may be in short supply this year!
Whether on not you can get your hands on commercial peat free compost (and it is especially useful when it comes to sowing seeds!) it’s a no-brainer to to make your own.
How to make compost
If you’re new to composting, there’s not much that can go wrong. You can add any uncooked fruit and veg, as well as lawn and hedge clippings, egg shells, scrunched up paper and torn up card. Here are a few every day items that can sometimes be composted, but you need to just check…
Teabags can be composted, but try to choose teabags that are fully compostable, such as Clipper tea, as many teabags contain plastics in the glue that holds them together.
Loose tea is always a safe bet.
Don’t forget to compost the cardboard box.
Most coffee bags can’t be composted, even though they might look papery.
It is now possible to get compostable coffee bags, such as those used by Lincolnshire independent coffee roasters Jackalope Joe, but these need the high temperatures of industrial composting.
Adding them in small quantities to hot, aerated compost heaps is probably fine, but best not to add it to a small domestic compost.
Do add your coffee grinds though – they compost very nicely!
It is increasingly possible to find bags that are 100% compostable in a home compost.
They can be useful for lining a compost caddy, but unless you have a fairly hot compost, or you are able to leave it for years, you might find them slow to decompose.
If you want faster results, you can cut up compostable bags to help them break down more quickly.
Easy wins: veggie boxes
If you get you veggies from the supermarket, consider trying a veg box scheme. As well as reducing food miles and supporting you local food economy, they use much less packaging.
Riverford have now stopped using disposable plastic altogether.
Eden Farms based in Old Bolingbroke in Lincolnshire re-use packaging, and their goats eat any waste produce.
Nathan Willows offers a plastic free veg box, delivered in Lincoln and surrounding area
Easy wins: Refill shops
Refill shops are becoming much more popular, allowing you refill your own reusable containers, again and again, for example:
Things to avoid
Try to avoid cooked food and meat, fish or dairy products, as they can attract vermin and smell bad. While used bedding from chickens, guinea pigs and horses makes great compost, don’t include faeces from cats, dogs or any other carnivorous animal.
Also, I made you this little video with the bits and bobs I compost in my kitchen.
Guest blog, by Linda Scrutton from Dunston Community Garden Dunston Community Garden was born out of a request for ideas to spruce up the area around the village hall. This Spring, the gardeners have been transforming that land, making it more beautiful, welcoming to people and wildlife, and delicious – with flowers, fruit trees, veggiesContinue reading “Dunston Community Garden”
They’re not exactly the most usual school pet, requiring considerable knowledge and skills, some specialist equipment, not to mention the careful handling – but the learning opportunities are as bountiful and delectable as the honey! Wyberton Primary Academy near Boston shows us how it’s done, with a little help from Willoughby Road Allotment Association. TheContinue reading “Can kids keep bees?”
Lincolnshire resident, Mrs Smith (1892-94) can teach us a huge amount about sustainable living, local food and minimising waste.
More about Mrs Smith’s life and home, by Sally Bird, Learning and Development Officer at Mrs Smith’s Cottage.