Composting Events and news
A new page has been added to www.carryoncomposting.com on the composting of mangos. Over 2,500 varieties of Mango are grown throughout the tropics and provide us with a delicious tropical fruit. Mango once eaten presents the composter with the peel and seed to add to the compost bin. Any Mango flesh that is not eaten will breakdown quickly when added to the compost bin, or wormery. The peel will be decomposed more slowly but will rot more quickly if cut it into thin strips before adding to the bin or the complete skin can be added along with other kitchen waste. However, if significant quantities of mango peel are to be composted a hot composting system is recommended using fresh cow dung and regular turning of the bin
The mango seed can also be composted and a method of speeding up this very slow process
is given. Details are given at http://www.carryoncomposting.com/441149740
Horsetail can be a real problem on an allotment plot but you can turn it to your advantage.
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.
Depending on the quantity of horsetail available it can either be soaked in a lidded bucket of a water butt (This is useful if allotment site plot holders are prepared to spend a day on an allotment wide horsetail harvest).
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 to suspend it 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. It can be left soaking longer to be certain that it is non-viable. During fermentation the mixture will produce gas which will bubble on the surface. Once the bubbling has stopped the it has finished bubbling the liquid can be strained and used. The are more details and photos at
This is the time to plan events to help reduce Halloween pumpkin waste by preparing people to cook and eat the flesh from carved pumpkins and entries for "Biggest pumpkin" events and /or take part in pumpkin smashing and composting events. We are planning to hold pumpkin events in Leicester including making recipes available, holding a pumpkin lunch and organising pumpkin composting. Group, schools or individuals in Leicester or Leicestershire who are planning to hold events and would be interested in cooperating or being involved to make a bigger impact please contact carryoncomposting @gmail.com
Powerpoint presentation and talks are offered across the east midlands The is information on pumpkin waste and composting at http://www.carryoncomposting.com/416920211
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Since publishing photos of our community compost bins on the allotment I have had several queries about the need to layer the organic material as it is added.
Many sources of advice on allotment composting using a traditional heap or bins made of pallets suggest that the heap should be built using successive layers of Greens and Browns each layer being approximately six inches thick and well-watered as the heap is constructed . Some sources will also suggest the addition of layers of ammonium sulphate (2 ounces per sq. yard) or manure.
I use such a layering system when making a heap using the pallet bins on the Composting Demonstration site at Stokes Wood allotment as a simple way of getting the correct Green / Brown ratio. If enough material has been gathered on the allotment to fill the bin in one go or even in two or three weekly batches are required, this is a relatively effective way to build a hot heap. It also means that when used in a bank of three of four bins the material mixes well as it is forked from one bin to another.
If the material is not going to be turned to aerate the contents regularly over the first few weeks but just left to decompose over a 3-6-month period, it provides a satisfactory method of distributing the greens and browns within the heap.
At home or when using a conical plastic bin on the allotment layering is not practical and material is can be added as and when the kitchen caddy is full. The caddy once emptied can be used as a measure for the addition of browns (cardboard, egg boxes or shredded paper) or bulking agent if cooked food is being composted. Aeration can be achieved using a fork or a compost aeration tool.
Please visit us at Stokes Wood Allotments 2B Stokes Drive, Leicester on a Wednesday morning or by appointment.
This week one of our Reception bins has been almost filled with long grasses which had almost dried to the stage of being hay. In true allotment fashion we have layered it into a pallet bin with green plants and some wood chip. Each layer was soaked as it was added. When checked after four days the temperature was a comfortable 50-53C. More water was added and the bin covered. We hope to turn it later in the week.