In the face of climate change, diet related ill-health and widespread decline in wildlife, the need to change our food systems has never been greater.⠀

Organic September is a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the many benefits of organic food and farming, which include: ⠀

Supporting biodiversity and wildlife
Helping to combat climate change⠀
The highest standards of animal welfare⠀
Reduced exposure to pesticides⠀
Food as it should be, and food you can trust⠀

You may have an allotment or are merely flirting with the idea to plant some seeds in your own garden next spring. Where ever you are at with your 'grow you own' journey it's important to understand the many great benefits to composting.

A 2014 Report from Dr Jill Edmondson at Sheffield University found that 95% of plot-holders in their study composted their allotment waste, recycling nutrients and carbon back to their soil effectively. As a result of this practice the survey found that the allotment soil was significantly healthier than surrounding arable fields. Allotment soil had 32% more organic carbon, 36% higher carbon to nitrogen ratios, 25% higher nitrogen, and was significantly less compacted. 

Your plot however big or small will inevitably generate green waste, from weeds to old crops and spent compost, but please do not be tempted to dispose of it at your local tip or on the bonfire. This “waste” is actually a tremendous resource, as a large percentage of it can be recycled into compost that will enhance the fertility of your allotment garden. Your compost will:

  • Improve soil texture
  • Improve aeration of the soil
  • Increase water–holding capacity of the soil
  • Improve soil fertility
  • Feed micro- organisms that keep soil healthy
  • Reduce landfill pressure
  • Save you money

To create good compost, you should mix carbon-based waste (browns) half and half by volume with the nitrogen- based plant (greens) remains. The green material provides nutrients and moisture whilst the browns decompose more slowly and provide the energy source for the microbes that carry out the composting process. The brown material also absorbs excess moisture and facilitates air-flow within the heap

Browns (carbon) dead leaves, old straw/hay, dry plant stems, sawdust in small amounts, shredded paper in moderation, wood ash, torn cardboard – small pieces.

Greens (nitrogen) grass – in moderation, fruit and vegetables (raw), tea leaves and coffee grounds, pea and bean-tops, manure, bedding plants, urine – male only, young weeds, flowers, comfrey / nettles.

Not to be included cooked food or bread, meat or fish, coal and coke ash, cat litter or dog faeces, glossy magazines, plastics, metal and glass.

Many of the sellers on Beyond Bamboo use packaging that can be composted at home (a form of carbon) and it's worth remembering that bio-degradable waste such as human hair from your brushes, nail clippings, bamboo earbuds and used old bamboo toothbrushes and straws for example can also be composted which keeps them out of landfill and turns them into an extremely useful resource to help produce healthy home grown fruit and vegetables. 

For  more in-depth guide to Composting see The National Allotment Society