Composting Demonstration site

Visitors to the Demonstration Site

As a Leicestershire Master Composter keen on promoting composting I  managed a Composting Demonstration Site in the County for a number of years. This was originally hosted at the Leicester County Council Snibston Discovery Park and Museum but unfortunately the Discovery Park  was closed by the Council.

You can also see some of the Sibston composting site on Cbeebies //

We moved the Composting demonstration  to the  University of Leicester Botanic Garden  in 2015 and  had hoped that this location would enable us  to reach a larger number of  gardeners and other visitors with an active interest in composting. However, the closure of the cafe at the end of the summer of 2015 meant that waste food was no longer available on site and it was decided to move to  new venue.

We were looking for a venue where there would be a good supply of garden waste so as to enable us to operate a both hot and cold composting systems together with a supply of cooked food waste.

Stokes wood allotment Leicester

The composting demonstration is now being hosted by the Stokes Wood Allotment Society in Leicester.  The demonstration will process food waste from the Wednesday Morning breakfast Club and garden waste from the allotment.

 The Home Composting Display  includes a wide range of  compost bins (including some designed for cooked food composting), a range of  wormeries plus traditional techniques and homemade liquid feeds. These  include compost and comfrey teas and worm wee.

  A photo tour of the site is available on our Compost site photos page

 To keep up to date with progress on the composting  site and composting events  as well as additions to this website follow us on facebook:  


  • Hotbin Composters
    A hot compost system for garden , kitchen and catering (cooked food) waste

  • Green Cone
    Food digester.

  • Jorra food composting system

  • Green Johana
    Hot composting of garden, cooked and uncooked food

Compost bins that will be on Display

Pallet bins with boarded fronts . These are being used as "Reception bins" for grass and garden waste

Homemade Pallet Compost Bin

 A simple homemade bin consisting of wooden pallets suitable for allotment use or a larger garden. The sides can be lined with old compost bags, cardboard or carpet to help retain heat. The contents will normally be covered with old carpet of plastic to help with heat retention and to prevent the material being soaked during wet weather. The bins here are used as a reception area for compostable material waiting to be sorted and allocated to other bins for composting

 Trench Composting

Trench composting provides a simple way for composting fruit and vegetable waste including uncooked kitchen scraps. The trench is usually dug in the vegetable garden so that composting can be started in the late summer or autumn with the trench being filled and ready for spring planting of runner beans, French beans or peas. A similar method where circular pits are dug, rather than a trench, can be used for courgettes and pumpkins.


Lasagne Composting

Lasagne composting is no-dig, no-till method of organic gardening utilising sheet composting. It is so called due to the layered appearance of the composting material that resembles a Lasagne. A layer of wet corrugated cardboard or three layers of newspaper are laid directly on top of the soil, or grass.   Alternate layers of   “browns” and “greens” are added to a height of about two feet. The Green garden waste can including fresh green annual weeds (having removed any seed heads), uncooked kitchen vegetable scraps, comfrey or nettle leaves, manure or a mix of any of these. The brown layers of cardboard, leaves, shredded paper, straw etc, should be twice as deep as the green.


Grass Boarding

Grass boarding is a type of sheet composting that is very useful if you have a large lawn or grassed area. The technique can be used on open ground to form a heap, enclosed within a wooden frame to keep it tidy or for smaller quantities undertaken in a dedicated compost bin.  Alternate layers of cardboard, or paper and grass are used in a similar way to Lasagne composting


Tyre Compost Bin

A simple and cheap compost bin made out of old tyres lined with cardboard and old compost bags to provide extra insulation. The larger the tyres the more staple the bin and   greater the capacity but unfortunately the weight also increases making them difficult to manage.

Hugelkultur Mound.

This permoculture technique involves the creation of what could be described as a combined raised bed, hot bed and compost heap. It can involve digging a pit in which quite large pieces of wood can be used in the base layer or be built on a tree stump as in this case.


Traditional wire netting leaf mould bin.

 This double bin provides a simple method of making leaf mould.  Shredding the leaves speeds the process.

Slatted plastic composter

  A rot proof alternative to the wooded slatted compost bin. The open side provide good ventilation but does result in heat loss. 

 Tekplas Plastic compost bin.

 A plastic bin but based on the design of a traditional wooden bin. The plastic boards are removable to give easy access to the compost. Metal stakes inside the plastic corner posts hold them place. Please do not remove the caps on the corner posts. This bin is being emptied as the end caps have been knocked off during unauthorised use. 

Entrance to the site

Plastic bins including some tumbler bins

Home-made and commercially available rolling bins

Traditional tumbler bins

A range of wormeries (Not in use at the present as the Botanic Garden staff have not agreed on the use of our preferred kitchen caddies)

Part of the "leafmould area" showing bags of leaves, plastic bins, netlon bins and a conventional wire cage

 Wooden Observation Wormery Compost Bin

A wooden compost bin with a observation panel to enable visitors to see the compost inside the bin (Donated by The Recycle Works)  //


Homemade leaf mould bin.

 Homemade bins of this type provide a cheap alternative to commercial systems

Netlon” Compost bin.

 This simple plastic container offers an alternative to wire netting as a containing for making leaf mould

Polythene bags – Wet leaves in bags with holes punched in the sides make leafmould in one or two years and are easily hidden in a corner of the garden. We are currently comparing the time it takes for  leaves from different trees to decompose

Greenfingers plastic three bin system -  This  cheap and cheerfull bins provides a entry level composter  but it is less durable than the slightly dearer council subsidised bins.

Double Pallet bin.- The two, three and four bin systems make turning (aerating) the compost easier as it is turn from one bin to the other.

Conventional and tumbler bins

Mantis ComposTumbler

  Blackwall “Dalek” compost bins 

Inexpensive basic compost bins made from recycled plastic in two sizes.  Available through council schemes. The two black bins on display show two common mistakes when composting where the mix of greens and browns is wrong resulting in wet smelly compost or very dry material. Beware of the rat!  For further informationand current Council offers go to: //

“Dalek” bin with sliding hatch.

Bins with this type of hatch are slightly more expensive that the more common push

on style but are easier to use.

Early plastic bin with rubber lid.

This bin is at least twenty years old and is still in use.

Homemade Dustbin compost bin.

Normal bin with a large hole cut into the bottom for drainage and to allow worms access

 Komp 250.

 A flat sided compost bin that uses a pin system for easy assembly. The pin system also makes getting at your compost easy as you can open the bottom panel by pulling up the rod. It has a hinged lid.  //



 A three chamber vertical composting unit that uses gravity to allow material to tumble from one chamber to another aerating the compost rather than the operator being required to physically aerate the mixture.  (Kindly donated by Earthmaker)   Earthmaker UK has ceased trading but information may be obtained from   //     //

Eco King 400

This bin has a double  opening hatch on the top of the composter making it easy

To fill and due to an aeration system and insulated walls composts more quickly than some of the cheaper systems.  Further details from  //


The CompoSphere looks like a giant ten-pin bowling ball  but it has a 315 litre capacity and can make good quality compost. IThe compost is mixed by crolling the composter  around the garden. The more visitors to the siteroll it, the faster we get  compost!  It has a  flat-bed so it won't go anywhere when it's resting.



 Rolling Bins and Tumblers

 For those with sufficient space to roll their bin every day this style eliminates the need to aerate with a pitchfork or compost aerator to aerate the compost. When full they can be heavy and smaller versions may result in adopting a poor posture

Homemade rolling “barrel” bin.

The bin should be rolled daily (always in the direction of the arrow) to aerate the contents

Compost tumblers 

 Compost tumbler systems provide a means of turning the bin to aerate the contents and are said to produce compost more rapidly than stationary bin provide the mix is right and the bins are turned spun regularly. There are three Barrel shaped bins two of which are in use. The lid on one of the two similar  bins that is in use is screwed in place and cannot be opened  We used to suggest that visitors  compare the weight of the empty bin with that in use but we have now been asked to rope the bins off so that visitors can mot turn them.

The third, Tumbleweed, 220l bin is of a more modern design and is easier to use. The Tumbleweed UK web site is underconstruction please check progress at //  until that address is fully operational go to //


Mantis ComposTumbler

This is our latest addition composter the Mantis Original ComposTumbler, kindly donated by Mantis, during the summer we hope to be using this to produce compost in as little as 14 days.  Please do not turn this bin unless supervised by a Master composter.

For further information go to (//



Liquid feeds, Wormeries and Cooked Food


Liquid fertilizers 

Worm wee fertilizer

Fresh worm wee fertilizer can be made fresh as you need it by placing a handful of compost in water for a day or two then used fresh diluted tea for plant food. Alternative the worm wee can be run off and diluted1:10 for use

Compost (including worm compost) and Comfrey teas.

 These are liquid fertilisers made by soaking compost or comfrey in a bucket or drum of water (A lid is normally fitted to reduce the smell).

Comfrey Tea 

is also shown being made using a Drainage Tube system, which smells less than soaking in a bucket. Comfrey can be seen growing near the demonstration tube. The comfrey is put into the tube and compressed by a bottle, normally filled with soil of water.

Aerated Compost tea

 is shown being made by soaking compost (+ black treacle) and aerating the mix using a solar powered pump. The mixture is filtered before use. 

Plant food maker

Plant food in around 3 weeks from green leafed kitchen food scraps and grass cuttings. Simple to use, just add garden and green leafed kitchen scraps, water and mix with the hand pumped aerator.


The wormeries are not fully operational at present as we are unable to get the fruit and other lunch box waste from the facilities on site to feed the worms. However the  different types of wormeries can be seen with examples of worm compost. The Master composters apologise for any inconvenience caused.

 Can-O-Worms wormery

 A stacking wormery system that converts kitchen waste into compost and worm wee liquid fertiliser. These are available from



 Bubblehouse Herb garden wormery.

 Wormery with an urn for collecting worm tea; The base unit is an urn for collecting the excess liquid produced during the vermicomposting process. It has a tap that allows for easy drainage. //


Wooden Wormery  

 A single chamber wormery designed for easy harvesting.

Wormcity Stacking wormery

Said to be the only plastic stacking wormery specifically designed for worm composting that is manufactured in England. The Wormcity Wormery trays rest on each other allowing the worm’s easy access to the upper levels. (Donated by Wormcity) //


 “Original” Wormery

 Single chamber wormery with liquid drainage platform and a double sealed lockable lid. (Donated by Original Organics)  //


 Dog Poo stacking wormery 

Used to turn poo from regularly wormed dogs into compost suitable for use on a flower garden. (Donated by Original Organics) Only on show during staffed events. On an H&S note we should point out that the dog poo in the wormeries is fake

  Food Composters  These are being used to compost garden waste as we do not have access to cooked food waste at the present time

 Green Cone food digester 

 Not strictly a composter. The Green Cone converts all food waste (fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, bones & dairy products) into CO2, water and nutrients. This digester cannot be used if the drainage on the site is poor as the  basket  buried in the ground must have adequate drainage.  The cone must not be filled above ground level. 



Green Johanna

 Fully sealed “hot” compost system converts garden, cooked, and uncooked kitchen waste into compost in about 6 months.



 Jora 125 composter

 One of a range of twin chamber hot composters suitable for cooked food and kitchen waste. The composters vary in size from the 125 (this model) for domestic use, to larger models for school, nursing homes and larger businesses.  


Hotbin composters.

 This hot aerobic composting system that can be used to compost kitchen peelings, all food waste (including cooked food) and garden waste.  (Donated by Hotbin) 


 Bokashi bins

 An anaerobic indoor system suitable for most kitchen waste. It produces liquid and solid contents that can be composted.

Only on display during events