Composting Events and news
On line talks orgainised by the National Allotment Society
Practical Organic Growing from Anton Rosenfeld, Garden Organic
Composting - Rod Weston, Carry on Composting
No-dig plotting - Allan Cavill.
Water Harvesting on allotments, with climate change in mind- Neil Phillips, University of the West of England
Allotments on a shoestring , Phil Gomersall
Via ZOOM video conferencing at 3pm each day, around 90 mins including a Q and A session. To obtain the zoom link mail firstname.lastname@example.org indicating the talk/s you would like to attend.
Two of our compost bins at Stokes Wood demonstration site are infested by ants. Ants feed on a range of food including aphid honeydew (produced by aphids from plant sap excreting), fungi, seeds, scraps, and insects some of which are found in the compost heap. In addition to providing a source of food, the compost bin provides shelter for ant’s nests.
Ant nests are relatively common when cold composting techniques are being used or during the cool maturation stages of hot composting. Many people worry about having ants in their compost heap or bin but they actually contribute to the composting process by bringing fungi, and other organisms, into their nests as well as introducing minerals e.g. phosphorus and potassium. They also help mix the and aerate waste, eat and shred plant materials increasing the surface area available to microbial action and provide additional nutrients by the from their own faeces.
If the compost is almost finished it the part containing the ant colony can be removed and spread on the garden where the ants will probably disappear with a few days. If there are only a few ants I would normally leave them if they or the nest are taking over the bin probably the simplest way to get rid of them is to douse the nest with cold water. This will have the advantage of increasing the moisture level of the compost as ants are often found in compost which is on the dry side.
It is also suggested that sprinkling coffee grounds or cornmeal onto the nest will discourage them. There is more information at Compost Creatures
Horsetail can be a real nuisance as it is difficult to eradicate. However, weed can be turned to good use by drowning, in a lidded bucket or a water butt, and using the liquid as plant feed and the sludge as a booster to the compost bin.
Horsetail is high in silica and a when soaked to make a tea which, is said, to coat the leaves of treated plants producing a fungicide and protect against blackspot, mildew, and mint rust. The plants need to be fully submerged under
the water so are best put in a sack or an old vegetable net pinned down with a large stone or suspended in a submerged weighted bag. Regular stirring is recommended. The fermentation process can range from 10 days to 3 weeks, depending
on the ambient temperature. During fermentation, the mixture will produce gas which will bubble on the surface. Once the bubbling has stopped it has finished bubbling the liquid can be strained and used.
Allotment site Committees, or groups in affected areas of allotments, might organise plot holders to spend a day on an allotment wide horsetail harvest and drowning.
Composting Volunteers wanted: Leicester
Composting enables householders to turn their garden and household organic waste into a valuable soil improver. It reduces waste sent to landfill cutting methane emissions, produces a valuable soil enhancer and stores carbon in soils. If you compost at home you may be interested in using your composting skill to aid the community. Community Composting can take place on a large-scale site with kerbside collection but there are advantages in small scale action dealing with waste and producing compost at source. As a volunteer community composter, you could play a role in keeping the process as local as possible minimising transport costs and pollution.
If you live in or near Leicester and are interested in promoting composting, you could consider volunteering at the Stokes Wood Allotment Community Composting and Demonstration site. The site which produces compost from the allotment garden waste is open to the public on Wednesday mornings and Saturdays by appointment. We are looking for adult volunteers who are would be prepared to:
- Help manage this site and maintain a composting service to 60 plus allotment plots supplying waste and converting it to compost to use on the allotment site.
- Help produce liquid plant food and compost tea for use by plot holders.
- Help maintain the 25 plus demonstration bins and composting methods on the demonstration site using our plastic, wooden and tumbler bins, food composters and wormeries to show visitors the range of methods available for home composting.
- Give informal tours to visitors and community groups, garden clubs and allotment societies and demonstrate composting techniques.
- To help provide on-site training for new composters from households and allotments attending the site from across the region.
It is appreciated that volunteers may not be able to commit to a fixed number of hours a week, month or even year the main thing is that they are prepared to devote some time to help composting on the site and promoting composting.
The main requirement is an interest in composting no previous experience is needed for this role as training will be provided. Do not worry if you are only able to commit to helping occasionally. Volunteers with a limited amount of time are welcome as are those who would like to use volunteering as a means of gaining practical experience of specific composting techniques which will be applied in their own garden or community.
For further information please contact email@example.com
When cold composting in a slated, sectional or pallet bin volunteer (unwanted) plants are likely to appear over the late spring or summer. These plants germinate from seeds and pieces of root on plants put into the bin for composting. They are usually, but not necessary, weeds as seeds from many plants will survive cold composting e.g. pumpkin and flowers Normally they are just pulled out, chopped up and composted or drowned in a bucket of water. Small plants that germinate from the compost when it is spread on the soil as a mulch can also be used.
However, these plants can provide an interesting and different children’s growing activity or competition for an annual show or event such as National Allotment week. They can be planted in pots or in a container to form a volunteer garden with a prize being offered for the most variety of best presented volunteers.
This is a different approach to composting but does make the point that seeds, and roots may survive cold composting.