Composting Events and news

30. May, 2022
Proud of your composting bin or system?
I am seeking photos of bins and systems to illustrate a book on composting techniques. Please contact me at to send good quality photos (2000 x3000 pixels) or if you live in or near Leicester I could come and photograph your bins.
30. May, 2022

We are advised to add a layer of twigs at the bottom of the compost bin so as to assist with aeration of the bin and this works well if the contents are not being turned. If the contents are being turned it is likely that many of the woody items from the bottom of the initial bin will end up spread throughout the contents wheb turned or end up on top of the bin. Woody items in the composting material will continue to aid aeration and any that have not been broken down during composting can be removed at the end of the process. However, those  in the top layers of the bin can look untidy and put off new composters. They are not a problem and can be  removed  to reuse as the base of the next bin to be filled if a row of 3 or 4 bins are being used  In this way they can be reused several times and never make the exciting journey along the row of bins. 

19. May, 2022
This week I am ignoring the material left in the Composting site Reception bin and am concentrating on the weeds that have grown on the plot refreshed by the warmth and rain. There were enough weeds to provide 2 layers of greens in one of the pallet bins (see photo) and  to top up 5 of the moulded and sectional plastic bins on the plot. The bin shown was given a layer of shredded paper and topped with decomposing waste from the Reception bin. Watered and covered  while I take a holiday from the site.
A batch of ACT was bottled and left for members to take and on the day with bottles of Compost  Extract made to keep them happy for the  of the week. I am rapidly coming round to the view I will in future provide Compost Extract  instead of Aerated Tea as it is quicker to make and has a better shelf life for those who cannot get to the Allotment Site on Wednesdays. 
16. May, 2022

Simple Compost extracts can be made in less than 20 minutes and applied immediately, making them very convenient if there is not enough time to brew aerated tea or to leave the compost for a long soak. While the extract will contain a lower population of microbes  than compost tea made from the same compost it  has a longer shelf life. Aerated Compost tea only  has a shelf life of only 3-4 hours, while it is claimed that an extract has a shelf life of 1- 2 weeks. I recommend checking the smell of the extract before use to check that  it has not turned  anaerobic. If anaerobic  it will  have an unpleasant smell and should not be used

The extract will also contain the range of soluble nutrients found in the original compost.

  Compost extracts require a larger volume of compost than teas.  It is recommended to use about a kilogram  (or 3 cups)    in   5 gallons of clean rainwater.

It can be used as a soil drench, to boost the soil  round established trees, on lawns  and even as a   root dip during  transplanting. Both the liquid and compost remaining in the bag makes a useful  activator added to  compost heaps. 

The Extract can be made agitating or vigorously mixing  compost in a bucket of water, or by running water at pressure through compost. The easiest method of doing this is to put the compost in a mesh screen bag, as would be used for making aerated compost tea. Put the bag in a bucket of clean rainwater and leave until the compost is soaked. Some recommended gently squeezing the bag so that the maximum number of microbes and nutrients are released.  The bag can be agitated for a few minutes so that the water washes through the compost. The bag is then left for another five minutes, and the agitation repeated.

If made in the “bag” it will probably not require filtering before use.A


15. May, 2022

The Composting year. A weekly dip into our allotment community compost reception bin. The stalks are continuing tobe added, These will be chopped into about 2 inch lengths and crushed by hitting with a hammer. This exposes a greater surface are for the composting bugs to work on.

When visiting allotments I find large numbers bins with complete brassica stalks  relatively  unaffected by the composting process occuring in the materials round them. Do you chop and crush?

We have also had a lot of this small plants. Anyone know what they are?

Answer on the Facebook page