A well-rotted weekend!

We have a system for compost!  Actually we have a system for a lot of things, but that’s what happens when you have a David.

Compost, or ‘compo’ as our 2 year old granddaughter calls it (she is an aficionado of Mr Bloom’s Nursery on CBeebies), is vital to our allotment.  I don’t actually know if Mr Bloom refers to it as ‘compo’, never having watched his programme, but if it gets her interested in growing her own veggies, I’m not going to split hairs.

So to the compost system … our allotment started life with 2 compost bins.  One evolved into the shed four years ago.  One compost bin was never going to be enough, so the single compost bin was divided in two.  Are you with me so far?

But two compost bins were still not enough.  We needed a third to allow the compost to rot down properly.  Of course we could have speeded the process up by turning it or using an accelerator, but turning it was difficult in the limited space, and we wanted it to ‘bake’ naturally.

Compost bin using tote bag

Tote bag recycling for compost

Compost bin 3 or the ‘compote bin’, was created from one of those handy tote bags used by builders merchants for ballast and sand etc.  David made a wooden frame (took him about ½ hour) from some old pallets and secured the tote bag to it.  Viola!  Compost bin 3.  That little invention actually got us the ‘letter of the month’ in a Grow It magazine!  The prize of some dome-shaped cloches was appreciated by the local primary school’s gardening club.

Turning the compost in a tote bag is challenging, so the system was born.  Each year we fill up bin number 3 – the tote bag.  The following summer, the contents of bin 2 are moved to bin 1.  And the contents of bin 3 are moved to bin 2.

These Herculean efforts ensure well rotted compost to enrich the soil each year.  We never have enough compost, despite collecting compostables from the neighbours in return for our glut veg, but there isn’t much we can do about that.  We produce a lot of vegetable waste from the kitchen, grass cuttings from the lawn, and copious amounts of shredded paper from the copywriting office.  Combined with the allotment waste, we fill the bin to the top each year (before it rots, that is).

Home made compost bin

The compost bin and shed evolution

It’s not that complicated really, but it does take effort.  Last Saturday was ‘compo’ moving day, and we weren’t relishing the thought! The reality is of course, it doesn’t take a lot of time.  The sun was shining and we couldn’t have had a better day for it!

We had a shopping trip to fit in on Saturday, so our time up on the allotment was limited.  But the rest of the leeks are now in the ground, some weeds were removed and we returned home pleased with our efforts – just before it rained!

The highlight of the week, ‘compo’ apart, was the first harvest of our perpetual spinach.  It is faring much better this year, having been planted straight in the ground.  The first picking yielded two big bags of luscious greens.  The drought, and our subsequent watering, means our brassica plants are looking better than ever before.  We’re looking forward to some even bigger and better harvests.


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