Practical composting courses

Practical Composting Courses at Stokes Wood Allotments, Leicester

 Celebrate Compost Awareness Week a day early by requesting information on the  Composting course at Stokes Wood Allotments . You will then be sent details of the courses once the Coronavirus emergency has passed.

Neglected compost bins and heaps are a feature of many allotment sites and it would seem some  plot holders would prefer a bonfire or paying the council to process their waste or making their own compost. These  bins  spoil the look of the site and demonstrate a waste of  a  valuable means of improving  the soil of the allotment.  The problem is not confined to allotments, a 2004 survey showed that as many as 40% of householders who had brought a bin and started home composting  stopped using because of a lack of composting knowledge. This led to Councils offering leaflets, web pages and trained “master composters” to provide support and advice resulting in a reduction in the dropout rate to  8-14% . In recent years  this figure has reduced further to  3.9% which is probably as low as it will go without further intervention.

There are a number of reasons for composters dropping out such as insufficient  waste to feed the bins, lack of time as well as specific problems relating to lack of knowledge of composting techniques and specific concerns relating to  smells, flies and rats.

 From the environmental perspective there is also a problem with cooked food waste  which requires special, quite expensive  bins to compost at home, although a pre-compost product suitable to be added to a normal compost bin can be produced using a relatively cheap Bokashi system.

 To help increase awareness of composting techniques and increase the scope and rate of composting at home and on allotments  we are starting a series of low-cost training sessions at the Stokes Wood Allotment Composting Demonstration Site,  2B Stokes Drive, Leicester, LE3 9BS.

The initial  one-day Introduction to Composting session on Saturday 2nd May   will introduce attendees to the many benefits of composting and help them explore the methods that will best suit their circumstance. Registration  including tea coffee and lunch costs £15.

The course is designed to equip those new to composting with the basic knowledge and practical experience to compost successfully and take remedial action if things go wrong and provide additional information for those already composting.

It is designed for those who have recently taken on a new allotment plot or have purchased or are considering purchasing, a  compost bin through a Council subsidized  scheme as well as allotment plot holders who wish to extend their knowledge of composting techniques. Allotments and large gardens provide an opportunity  for using different composting  techniques  e.g. trench, lasagne or  hot composting. As well as composting solutions to problems with perennial weeds and diseased plant material.

Householders are faced with the difficulty of dealing with both cooked and uncooked kitchen waste  and plus a significant amount of grass, if they have a large lawn,  which can turn anaerobic and smelly if not dealt with correctly.   .

Course content

Participants  will receive training to develop a composting skill set, and a knowledge of:

  • The environmental benefits of composting and  role of composting in reducing waste sent  to landfill.
  • The Benefits of composting in  building a  healthy soil.
  • The main methods of composting available to the home,  allotment and small-scale community compos site.
  • Home and allotment  composting operations including the use of bins purchased through Council schemes.
  • Stages in Microbiological decomposition of organic material  during composting
  • “Greens and Browns” getting the right mix of materials for effective composting.
  • Compost bin “first aid”. Measures to be taken if things go wrong.
  • Harvesting and using compost.

The introductory session will include a tour of the demonstration site and  practical experience  of aerobic composting operations using the wide range of  bins available on the demonstration plot.  Depending on the weather it may include  the sorting of  feedstock from the reception bins, the layering and  loading of bins, aeration by turning  with a fork and aeration tools,  use of plastic “dalek”  and similar bins and  the harvesting  of finished compost

 While the Introductory session will provide sufficient knowledge to operate and maintain a composting system it will also form the Foundation session for a more detailed and specialist second day with sessions on:

  • Traditional three bin  hot composting,
  • Waste food composting (including cooked food),
  • Bokashi fermentation to pickle food waste so that it can be composted in a conventional bin ,
  • Wormeries,
  • Liquid Feeds (plant & compost teas)

Successful completion of both days will lead to certification as a Compost Mentor.

The courses are priced at only  £15 per day (including tea, coffee and lunch)  to make them accessible to as many people as possible. All NAS members are welcome 

An additional half day session Community Composting will be offered  for representatives of allotment sites, community gardens, schools etc. as demand warrants. 

Enquiry  forms are available  below or from carryoncomposting1@gmail.com

 

Introduction to Composting Programme

One-Day Practical Composting Course:

Introduction to composting

 

Learn how to make and use compost at the Stokes Wood Allotment Composting Demonstration Site,  2B Stokes Drive, Leicester, LE3 9BS.

    The aim of this one-day course will introduce attendees to the many benefits of composting and help them explore the methods that will best suit their circumstances.

The course is designed to equip those new to composting with the basic knowledge and practical experience to compost successfully and take remedial action if things go wrong.

It is specifically designed for those who have recently purchased, or are considering purchasing, a  compost bin through a Council subsidized  scheme or have recently taken a new allotment plot.

  • Participants  receive training to develop a composting skill set, and a knowledge of:
  • he environmental benefits of composting and  role of composting in reducing waste sent  to landfill:
  • Benefits of composting in  building healthy soil
  • The main methods of composting available to the home,  allotment and small-scale community composter
  • Home and allotment  composting operations including the use of bins purchased through Council schemes.
  • Stages in Microbiological decomposition of organic material  during composting
  • “Greens and Browns” getting the right mix of materials for effective composting
  • Compost bin “first aid”. Measures to be taken if things go wrong
  • Harvesting and using compost

The session will include a tour and  practical experience  of basic aerobic composting operations using the bins available on the demonstration plot.  Depending on the weather it may include  the sorting of  feedstock from the reception bins, the layering and  loading of bins, aeration by turning and aeration tools,    and the harvesting  of finished compost .

 COURSE Administration

The course will be presented by experienced  Master  Composter(s)

 Pre-registration is required for all participants, with pre-payment of the course fee by the student or sponsor

Fee includes refreshments, handouts and participation in course activities. Online material will be available to download at www.carryoncomposting.com

Each session can accommodate 10-16 persons. Course fee £15 per person. Material will be freely available for download on the CarryonComposting website or a ring binder containing information can be provided at a cost of £2.00

 

Introduction to composting

 

Programme

9.30-10.00    Arrival. Tea and coffee will be available

 

  • Welcome  Introductions to the  course and participants
  • General and compostable waste discarded in the UK
  • Environmental and climate issues relating to composting
  • Local compostable waste collection and  disposal systems
  • Garden, allotment and  small scale community composting

 

11.15-11.30   Tea/Coffee Break

 

  • Methods and Techniques:   Sheet and lasagne composting,  pit and trench,   compost pile or heap,
  • Types of bin available  moulded  plastic, tumbler and rotary, wood including pallets.
  • Aerobic decomposition in the compost heap
  • Composting microbes (bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi)   and minibeasts involved in   the composting process. Practical
  • Compostable materials,  Greens and Browns  C:N ratio
  • Temperature, CO2 , air/water, Particle size – air spaces

 

          13.00-14.00   Lunch (soup and ploughman’s)

  • Hot and cold composting, advantages and disadvantages
  • Site Visit:  types of bin available uses and advantages & disadvantages of different bins.
  • Preparation of materials  chopping/ shredding/mixing/soaking
  • Layering v pre-mixing,  Aeration and turning
  • Screening and sifting,
  • Properties of finished compost.
  • Uses of finished compost

                       3.30  Finish

 

 

Stokes Wood Allotments Composting Training REGISTRATION

DOWNLOAD a registration form for the Stokes Wood Allotment
One-Day Practical Composting Course: Introduction to composting