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Your Ultimate Guide to Compost

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Compost is one of the most important elements of gardening, a special ingredient that can completely change your gardening landscape. With some special attention, and proper application of compost, your garden can thrive, your plants will grow tall and vibrant, and your fruit and veg yields will increase!

Not only is compost easy to get started with, it’s also a free commodity with numerous benefits. You might be wondering just how to start composting at home, and why you should in the first place? Read along to find out more about composting!


The Benefits of Compost

 

  • Compost is a fantastic alternative to chemical plant feed, some of which can have long term detrimental effects on your soil, and the environment.
  • Compost contains all kinds of materials, one of which are microorganisms. These microorganisms are great at breaking down organic matter within soil, and thus help to feed plants. In addition to supplying plants with nutrients, these microorganisms also help to ward off diseases which can damage your plants.
  • Compost can help balance the PH level of your soil, aiding plant growth.
  • Compost can be produced using kitchen and garden waste, meaning that you can start making your own compost at home. Not only is this a great cost-free way of improving your garden, but it also ensures that less waste goes to landfill.

 


 

Now that you know why compost is beneficial, you might be wondering how to get started? The first thing to know is exactly what materials you can or can’t use for composting. Various composters will be able to break down different materials, so it’s important to know what type of composter you have.

One of the key ingredients to whether a compost bin will succeed, or fail, is the ratio of green and brown materials. Green materials are defined as materials which contain large quantities of nitrogen, including grass clippings, weeds, and kitchen scraps. Brown materials are defined as materials which are low in nitrogen and high in carbon, such as leaves, wood, and paper.

Where you place your composter depends entirely on your garden/home setup, generally it’s better to have your composter located on bare soil/ground, this will allow organisms such as insects and microbes easier access (which will help accelerate compost production). However, if you do place your composter on decking or concrete it will still function correctly. One of the great things about composting is that you can do it all year round, so there’s no better time to start than now!



Brown and green


Generally, you want your compost pile to have more brown materials than green, therefore autumn and winter can be very productive for composting, as there is an abundance of fallen leaves. A good rule to apply is that there should be two thirds of brown material, and one third of green material. Too much green material is normally accompanied by an unpleasant smell, so this is one way to know if you have the right balance of materials.




  • Meat, bones, fish, and dairy products are difficult to break down, so for most composters it’s not recommended to add them. Hot composters are much more capable of breaking this sort of food down, due to their aerobic decomposition process.
  • Adding too many acidic foods to your composter can also cause complications, especially if you are using a worm composter or ‘wormery’.
  • Pet poo is another material that shouldn’t ordinarily be added to composters, however you can use bokashi bran to break down animal waste, if you’re using a pet poo wormery.
  • Any time you add garden waste to your composter, there is the potential that seeds can start to germinate inside the composter. This isn’t usually a problem, as it is easy enough to identify and remove the shoots of any plants that start to grow.





Now, to actually start your compost, the process is fairly similar whether you have a compost container/bin or if you are starting to compost with an open top composter.

 

  1. Start by placing a layer of brown material at the bottom of your container.
  2. Alternate between brown and green layers.
  3. If your compost gets too dry you can always add water to it, similarly if your compost gets too wet you can add some more brown materials to absorb moisture. You want to aim for a moist but not wet compost.
  4. If your composter doesn’t have a lid, you’re going to want to cover it with something to protect it from the elements, and to keep the warm air in, such as a compost duvet.
  5. Most composters will require turning every couple of weeks, this will help the materials to degrade, and introduce air to the pile. Aeration and heat are key to breaking down materials quickly. If you’re using a hot composter or compost tumbler, this step is taken care of for you.
  6. Depending on your type of composter, your compost will take between 12 weeks to a whole year to be usable.
  7. You will know that your compost is ready for use by the feel and smell of it. It should be crumbly in the hand and have a rich earthy smell. If in doubt leave for a few more weeks before using.

 

 

Once your compost is ready you can either mix it in with your soil, or you can sprinkle it on top of the soil this can improve insulation during winter and help to maintain moisture. Mixing it in with soil is an effective way to make sure that plants get the nutrients they need, either way the compost will likely end up being mixed to some degree due to worms. Raised beds are an easy way to keep your ratio of compost and soil balanced, and your plants organised.

You can also use your compost for potted plants, simply mix it in with your potting soil. The use of compost with fruit and vegetables will greatly increase the yield of your plants, but if you are using pet poo compost it is best not to use this as you could contaminate your food.

Trees can also benefit from the use of compost, by adding compost to the roots of your trees you can ensure they grow faster and taller and will be more protected against disease. You can also add compost to your lawn to give it an extra boost, you’ll want to separate some of the larger pieces of compost from the mix first. This can be an effective way to boost your soil when mixed with traditional lawn care products.

 


 

While the process for composting is relatively similar no matter how you decide to do it, there are different types of composter available which require some slight differences in the way you approach them. Here are just a few of the different types of composters, this is by no means an extensive list, but there should be enough info here for you to make an informed decision as to which one is right for you. 




Hot composters are unique in the fact that very few of them require turning of the pile, instead hot composters rely primarily on aerobic decomposition, that is when organic material is exposed to oxygen.

Different hot composters employ this technique in a multitude of different ways, varying between manufacturers. One such hot composter is the Aerobin, which relies on a patented central aeration lung, this allows oxygen to become present throughout the composter, rather than at the top, or edges. Hot composters are much more efficient at breaking down certain types of organic waste than other composters, for example the Aerobin can break down meat and dairy.  

Compost production in a hot composter can be as quick as 12 weeks, so if you’re looking for a fast and efficient composting solution, you can’t go wrong with a hot compost bin.








 

Wormeries, or vermicomposters, are a different type of composting system which relies on the use of worms, specifically tiger worms (Eisenia fetida), to break down organic matter. Tiger worms, unlike earthworms, spend most of their life inhabiting topsoil, and don’t tend to burrow deep into the ground. This makes them ideal for composting in trays, as the shallow environment mimics the earth in which they dwell.

A wormery is normally organised via trays, with the bottom tray housing the worms and any organic matter added to it. The worms eat their way through the organic matter (preferring rotting matter over fresh!) and produce worm castings in the process (worm poo). These castings are known as vermicompost, one of the richest and most efficient types of compost available. Once the worms have finished in one tray, they will seek food in the tray above their current one, working their way through small holes in the bottom of the tray. This process ensures that the worms are always working in an upward direction, allowing you to harvest the rich vermicompost once they have left the bottom tray, this means that no worms are removed from the wormery in the process! There are also pet poo wormeries available, meaning you can turn your pets nasty brown mess into black gold.

One thing to keep in mind about wormeries is that they require more maintenance than a standard composter, without regular organic matter being added, the worms will look for food elsewhere and start to leave the wormery. As worms are living creatures, they also don’t tend to do too well in weather that is too cold or too wet, while this seems to be the climate of the UK, it is recommended that a Wormery is kept under cover during wet weather and insulated or kept inside during cold weather.












A bokashi composter
is a great solution for homes with small or non-existent gardens. An easy, no-smell and less messy method of home composting, bokashi composting is a quick fermentation process, originating in Japan. Unlike most other forms of composting, you can add anything to your bokashi bin—including meat and dairy, and you won’t need to turn its contents.

Most bokashi composters are small enough to fit on your kitchen counter, or cupboard, meaning that you can make it part of your kitchen routine when clearing food waste. Simply add your food waste to the bokashi bin with a handful of bokashi bran (a substance filled with beneficial microorganisms) and push down the material. Over time the mix will ferment and start to grow white mould, this whole process is generally odourless, with a slightly sweet smell being a possibility.

In opposition to hot composting, bokashi composting relies on the absence of air to work, therefore it is essential to keep the lid tightly closed whenever it is not being used. The pushing down of material is another element in forcing out air from the mix. Another difference is that once fermented (which takes around 30 days), it is not recommended to be added straight to soil for planting, instead it is best to bury it under a layer of soil for two weeks for a further breakdown of the material, which can then be used for planting.

One way to prepare your bokashi compost for planting is to start a soil factory, a separate area or container where you mix your bokashi compost with soil, leave for a few weeks, and then add to your garden for planting once it’s done. Using a bokashi bin can be a worthwhile investment!













A compost tumbler
is a barrel that can be rotated with a crank, or simply by rolling the barrel to aid the mixing up of your organic compostable materials. Using a tumbler for composting will lead to higher temperatures that encourage bacteria within the tumbler to break down your organic materials for compost which you can use within a few weeks.

Some composters come with multiple compartments so that you can store your ready to use compost, while still breaking down garden/food waste.











 

  • If your compost starts to smell very unpleasant it may be that there are certain foods being added which aren’t breaking down, or that there isn’t the right ratio of green and brown material.
  • Hedgehogs love to make their homes in compost piles, so be careful whenever you’re turning the compost. Encourage hedgehogs to nest elsewhere by utilising a hedgehog barn or house.
  • Worms will inevitably find their way into your composter, no matter what kind you have (provided it’s outside). This is no cause for concern, in fact it’s the opposite, worms will help to break down organic material and create worm castings (worm poo!), this is known as vermicompost, the richest type!
  • You can add accelerators to your compost to help speed up the decomposition process, some accelerators can also take the place of garden/kitchen waste in case you have a period where you have less of these.
  • If you start to see flies being attracted to your compost, check to see if there is any food waste which is uncovered. Simply add some brown garden waste on top of the food, this should stop flies noticing your compost.
  • Many composters will produce a substance known as leachate; this is a liquid which is essentially the runoff of moisture from the compost. Leachate can be used as a liquid fertiliser for your plants, but must be diluted first (a one to ten ratio with water is a good start, one part leachate, ten parts water).
  • Compost can last indefinitely but will start to lose nutrients after around four to five months, so it’s best to make the most of it once it’s ready to be used. If you’ve produced more than you need, you can always give it away to friends or family if they have a garden too, always encourage as many people as you can to garden naturally!

 

 


How Do You Use a Rhubarb Forcer?

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How Do You Use a Rhubarb Forcer?

 

At this time of year there are a multitude of crops which can grow fantastically, providing us with tasty and nutritious food that keeps us sustained, however there are other crops that either don’t grow that well, or at the very least need a little bit of help to reach their potential.

Greenhouses and cold frames do a fine job of nurturing our plants and ensuring their growth during colder weather, but it’s not always possible to use these due to space limitations, that’s where a rhubarb forcer can be useful. Don’t let the name fool you however, rhubarb forcers can be used on a large variety of fruit and veg, and we’re here to show you exactly how, so read along to find out more!

 

How Does a Rhubarb Forcer Work?

 

A rhubarb forcer works by limiting the light that reaches a plant, in many cases, and especially in the case of rhubarb, the lack of light prevents the plant from producing chlorophyll (which normally is what causes leaves to turn green). Chlorophyll is associated with a bitter taste, so by producing less chlorophyll the rhubarb naturally tastes sweeter. A secondary effect of light deprivation is that the rhubarb will expend more of its energy trying to seek any light it can, this produces long, stretched out stems, which are far less tough than their regular variety.

 

 

How to Plant Rhubarb

 

Rhubarb is regularly grown from crowns, but can also be grown from seeds, although this will take much longer, and be prone to more variety. If you plan to sow, any time between March and April will be fine.


 

Using a Rhubarb Forcer

 

Rhubarb forcing can happen anytime between November and March, many gardeners tend to start forcing around January/December time, as there is usually a lull in the gardening calendar at this time of year.

Once your rhubarb crown is established in its planting location you will need to cover it with the rhubarb forcer. You can also add insulation to provide even more warmth to the plant, and accelerate its growth further, plant fleeces, bubble wrap, or a rug will do the job.

Luckily, by covering the crown with the forcer, it also helps to prevent pests from devouring your crop too, although this isn’t likely to deter them 100%. There are plenty of methods to deter pests from consuming your hard work, one of the best and most ecologically friendly methods is by using the natural wildlife present in your garden to do the work for you! Check out our guide on making your garden wildlife friendly to find out more.

The entire growth process should take around 7 to 8 weeks in total, at which point you can start harvesting. Your plants should become very pale, don’t worry this is just a result of the light deprivation, and is a sign that all has gone well.

 

Harvesting Rhubarb

 

Rhubarb will be ready once its leaves have spread, and the stems are at least 30cm in length. Simply remove the stem from the crown at the base, it’s best to only harvest half the stems at a time, this will keep the plant full of energy for future growth, however it is recommended to harvest the remaining stems before the end of summer.

 

Other Crops to Grow

 

In addition to rhubarb, rhubarb forcers are useful for growing other fruit and veg too! Nearly any plant which can grow with reduced light can be forced for an early harvest. These forced versions can look slightly different to their counterparts which are grown normally. 

 

 

 

Choosing a Rhubarb Forcer

 

Rhubarb forcers are traditionally made from terracotta clay, making them heavy and prone to chips and cracks (especially in cold weather). While their traditional style is a sight to behold, their weight can make it difficult to easily move them around and store them. For this reason, we prefer a more modern take on the rhubarb forcer.

Our plastic Rhubarb Forcers are the perfect replica of a traditional clay design, but with a fraction of the weight (saving your back in the process!), they are much more durable too, meaning that even the worst weather wont cause cracks or chips. Their lightweight design also makes storing them much more straightforward – stack multiples on top of each other with ease. The use of UV resistant plastic also means that they won’t fade in the sunlight.





Our rhubarb forcers also come in a grey marble effect, this rhubarb forcer can add a style and class to your garden with it striking yet practical design.

 

 

Tips

  • Rhubarb leaves are toxic, so be careful not to harvest these for food. You can always add them to your compost pile to make use of them.
  • Bacteria and fungi can infect rhubarb (known as crown rot), avoid having mulch and other bacteria rich materials too close to the crown as they can be a major cause of issues.
  • If you do see crown rot (identified by a red/yellow/brown decay on the leaves, and possibly black or brown holes appearing), simply remove the infected stems and monitor the rest of the plant.
  • You can grow rhubarb in pots too, just make sure that the pot is at least 20 inches wide and tall.
  • Avoid watering rhubarb too much, this can cause the onset of rot. However, it will need water the most when it is newly planted.
  • You can produce your own compost to supplement your plant growth by using a composter.

 

For all your growing needs shop Wormery!

How to Start Growing Your Own Vegetables

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How to Start Growing Your Own Vegetables

 

February is a fantastic time to prepare your garden and greenhouse for spring, whether you’re sowing or planting there is a large variety of plants you can continue to grow, or newly introduce. Often being the coldest month of the year, growing in February can be touch and go depending on where you’re located in the country. As a result, it’s always best to leave the sowing of seeds to later in the year if the ground is particularly frozen or waterlogged. However, if you can start working on your garden, our handy little guide will help you on your way, read along to find out how!




If you’re looking to sow seeds, the very first thing you must do is ensure that the ground is suitable for the seeds you’re sowing. No matter what type of soil you have, one thing you can do that will benefit your plant growth is supplement the soil with compost. Compost will provide vital nutrients and minerals, which are essential to plant growth, while also helping to retain moisture and making the ground generally easier to work. There are numerous ways to produce your own compost, from using a hot composter, a wormery, and more. This ensures you can have a fresh supply, of perpetual compost all year round.

To prepare your ground for sowing there are a few small steps you can take to make the most of the soil in your garden or allotment:

 

  • Remove weeds from the site you intend to sow your seeds. At this time of year there may not be too many weeds taking root, but you may start to see a few sprouting. There are a few ways to make sure that weeds don’t return, the most effective being to remove the weed in its entirety, root, and all, if there is even a small part of the root left it can potentially grow back.
  • The site for sowing is also incredibly important, different plants will have varying needs in terms of shade/sunlight, so check this before sowing. Generally, you want to choose a spot which won’t be affected by strong winds, and that receives an adequate amount of light.
  • Break up the soil using a garden fork, this can help with moisture drainage, you can also remove any large stones or debris at the same time. You want to aim for the consistency of breadcrumbs for the most effective soil, take some of this soil from the ground and mix it together with your compost, reapply this mix to the top of your soil.  
  • Depending on how many varieties of plants you are sowing, you can arrange your seeds in what is known as drills, these are rows made in the soil which differ in depth (depending on the type of seed being planted), this can help to arrange your plants effectively and maximise the space available to you.

 

Once your seeds are in place, you’re going to want to keep a careful eye on them as often as possible, the re-emergence of weeds, frost, and insects, can and will cause issues. To repel pests, we recommend alternatives to harmful chemicals and pesticides. One of the most effective ways to keep your garden pest free is by embracing the biodiversity that is present in most gardens. Frogs, birds, and hedgehogs all love to feast on slugs, so they do a great job at keeping the most common pests at bay.

Keep an eye out for any weeds that come back, if you see any hints of them simply remove them by hand, if possible, this will keep the root intact when you pull it out. Alternatively, you can also use a hoe to remove them.

Frost will potentially become an issue this time of year, one way to protect your seeds from the cold is to employ some cold protection, such as a cloche or hoop tunnel. Not only will this retain heat around the seeds, but it will also stop them getting buffeted by wind. Once the seeds have started to grow you can also use a layer of mulch to insulate them further.

You can also sow your seeds in containers, which in many ways is similar to planting in the ground. Simply fill your pot or seed tray with a mix of compost and soil, firming down the top layer, and then placing your seeds at their required depth, cover lightly with more compost (some seeds may need more coverage than others). When you’re watering your seeds, the best approach is to use a spray bottle, or a watering can with a rose head (if you’re not familiar with these, they look like shower heads), this helps to avoid dislodging the seeds by avoiding large quantities of water all at once. One benefit to sowing seeds in a container is that you can keep them indoors, or in a greenhouse, until the weather becomes warmer, or until the plant is big enough to brace the cold weather, and then transplant them outdoors.

Transplanting plants comes with it’s own set of problems too, you want to prepare the ground first by creating a hole at least as tall as the root of the plants, and twice as wide, this will ensure there is adequate space for it to grow. Water the plant once more before transplanting it to the hole, this will help the soil adhere to the roots much easier. Once you have added your layer of soil and compost back over the roots, you’re going to want to maintain the soil be keeping it moist, when you start to see any sign of growth from your plant, you will know that the transplant was successful.

No matter how your seeds are planted, you might run in to the issue of overcrowding. If too many plants are growing close together there may be too much competition for light and nutrients, this will have detrimental effect on all the plants, so it’s best to remove any seedlings which are looking weak and keep the healthiest ones.



If you want to start sowing right now, or even next month these are some great choices of vegetables that will grow well this time of year:

Parsnips – 14 weeks to harvest


Parsnip seeds only last for a year, so be sure to use them if you’ve got them! If you want to increase the likelihood of successful growth you can pre-germinate the seeds prior to sowing them, this is achieved by mixing the seeds with compost and leaving in a small bag for a few days somewhere warm and dark. When you go back to the bag after a few days you’ll start to see evidence of growth. It’s then just a case of transplanting these to the outdoors.

Broad Beans – 15 weeks to harvest



Broad beans can grow very well with full sun coverage, being placed around 5cm deep and 25cm apart from each other. Due to their weight, it’s wise to provide some sort of support for the plants once they start to get larger. A pair of sticks and a suspended string is more than adequate to provide the support needed.

Salad Onions – 10 weeks to harvest



Salad onions are best harvested before they grow too large, when they are smaller they are much sweeter and easy to eat, once they get to a certain size the flavour becomes too strong to eat raw.

Garlic – 39 weeks to harvest



Keeping garlic well-watered is key to ensuring they reach a decent size, you will want to stop watering as soon as they become large, as any more water can instigate the onset of rot.

Shallots – 20 weeks to harvest



Shallots are prone to flowering, so the moment you see any starting to form it’s best to remove the flower entirely. This will prevent the shallot from expending energy into the flower and preserve it for the bulb.




Sometimes it’s not always practical or advisable to sow certain plants in February, instead there is always the option of planting, normally from a container or pot, as previously mentioned. There are several advantages to planting, rather than sowing, one benefit is that it makes it much easier to allocate space for plants, as you already have a good idea of the space they will take up, they will also grow quicker than starting from seed, so if the weather is particularly poor you can still make some headway. Conversely, plants will be more expensive than seeds, and you’re normally more limited with the range that is available.

Some vegetables which grow well when planted this time of year include:

Kale – 30 days to harvest



Kale is a particularly hardy vegetable, able to grow in almost any type of soil and soil conditions. However, soil should generally be more alkaline than acidic, if this isn’t the case you can always add lime to the soil to bring the pH level in line with what you need.

Tomatoes – 40 days to harvest



Tomatoes need a lot of sunlight so take care when choosing where to plant them, if light levels are waning you can always start the tomatoes indoors and use LED light strips to supplement their needs.

Chillies – 70 days to harvest



Chillies are best suited to being kept under cold protection if being planted outdoors and supported with a stake and string, so they don’t buckle under their own weight. Harvest them when green for a milder flavour, harvest when they are red for some bite.

Aubergines – 6 months to harvest



Spider mites are a common pest for Aubergines, one way to prevent this is to give the leaves a light misting a few times a day with a spray bottle. Remove any flowers that appear to ensure that energy is conserved.

Basil – 21 days to harvest



Once basil has fully grown, simply clip off the amount of leaves you need to use for food and more, this will allow more to grow, giving you a long-term supply for up to two years. Regularly harvest the leaves in order to encourage growth.





Whilst it is possible to grow the following vegetables outdoors this time of year, it’s advisable to keep them under cover, on a windowsill, in a cold frame, or in a greenhouse for the most part. One of the many advantages of growing in a greenhouse is that you can have a large degree of control over the temperature throughout the year.

Lettuce – 30 days to harvest



Lettuce needs at least six hours of sunlight per day, and adequate watering, try to maintain a gap of 8 – 16 inches between each plant to ensure maximum growth.

Carrots - 14 weeks to harvest



If growing in a greenhouse, it’s vital to make sure that any container used is deep enough for it. Any container that has a depth of between 6 and 15 inches is ideal for carrots.

Radish – 4 weeks to harvest



Radish’s quick maturing time makes them the perfect vegetable to grow in between other, more time intensive crops. Unlike carrots, they do not need a great depth to grow, 1cm is more than enough.  

Rocket – 4 weeks



Much like basil, rocket can be harvested as needed, simply cut off the leaves to the desired amount, and then wait for them to grow back. Taking too much off of the leaves can cause the growth to be weakened, so it’s best to allow time for leaves to grow back.

Runner Beans



One useful technique to help your runner beans grow to their full potential is a bean trench. A bean trench consists of a trench around 50 cm front to back, and as wide as needed for your seeds. You want to dig to a depth of around 30 cm’s and then start lining your trench with newspaper, this will help the trench to maintain moisture. The trench then effectively acts as a composter, with garden and food waste being added. Alternatively, you can remove some of your half broken down compost from any composters you have and add that to the trench. Simply cover the trench with soil once full, and then start sowing your bean seeds, not only will the compost provide the much-needed nutrients to your seeds, but the decomposition process will also produce heat, which is essential for this colder time of year.

The lack of light is one of the biggest problems this time of year, especially in areas of the garden with shade. One handy trick is to use mirrors or other reflective materials such as foil, to direct sunlight to those areas which are starved of sunlight, while this may not seem like it would make a big difference, it can be very effective.

Handy Tips:

  • Label your plants so that you know which section is which
  • Use a raised bed to keep your plants organised, and insulated from the cold earth
  • Use garden wildlife to your advantage, bees help polinate plants, and hedgehogs eat slugs
  • Mulch not only insulates but also helps to deter weeds from growing

Top Tips to Avoid Christmas Food Waste

Top Tips to Avoid Christmas Food Waste Header Image

Christmas is a time to get together with family and friends, celebrate the year behind us, and to look forward to the future. Another staple of Christmas is the food, and for all the wonderful roasts that are cooked over the festive period, there is unfortunately an excessive amount of food waste. 

We're here to show you that there is another way! Read along to find out how!

Plan Your Christmas


Most households tend to overbuy the amount of food they really need. Plan as much as you can in advance: how many people you need to feed, what their dietary requirements are, how much they typically tend to eat, etc. Once you have a good idea of this, you can calculate roughly how many of each food item you will likely need.

Reorganise your fridge and freezer in advance to make the most of the space available.

Don't Buy in Bulk Unless Necessary


Supermarkets will sell vegetables in bulk bags to make you feel as if you're saving money, the same applies for discounts or multi-buys. A lot of this bulk food ends up getting thrown away as it will rot before being used. Buying loose vegetables will encourage you to only buy what you need, plus you will save money too!

Communicate with relatives before the big day, so you can ensure they don't bring unneeded extra food.

If You Do Buy Too Much


If you do end up buying too much, you can always donate any excess food to a food bank or local charity. Food bank reliance is becoming more and more necessary, so donations are always welcome.

Christmas dinner leftovers can be reused for the days following Christmas: make bubble and squeak, turkey sandwiches, and so much more! If it's suitable, you can also freeze certain foods for use at a later date.

Recycle


Be aware of what your local council can take in terms of recycling, some ideas aren't as recyclable as you might think. Planning in advance will allow you to recycle correctly and make sure that items don't have to go to landfill unnecessarily.

You can also recycle your food waste by using a composter or wormery. Not only does this stop waste going to landfill, it also provides usable compost for your garden!

Quick Tips


  • Fridge too full? Take advantage of the cold weather and store food items outside. Just make sure they can' be reached by rodents!
  • Take photos of the inside of your fridge and freezer, that way you will always know exactly what you have in there, and won't end up overbuying.
  • Allow guests to choose how much they want to eat, serving a standard plate for every guest can cause food to go to waste as not everyone will eat the same amount.



Learn More About Worms on Geography Awareness Week

Learn More About Worms on Geography Awareness Week Header Image

This week marks the start of Geography Awareness Week, a week that highlights the importance of geography, and most importantly our place in the world and how we interact with our environment.

We'd like to take this chance to explore the topic of worms, and their geographical differences, some facts, and how they can you help you. Read along below!

Tiger Worms (Eisenia fetida)

tiger worms

Tiger Worms are native to Europe, but over time they have been introduced to every continent apart from Antarctica. They are ideal for use in wormeries because of their affinity for rotting vegetation. They are difficult to identify against other worms, but they are unlikely to be found in soil (unlike most worms), their bright yellow tail is usually a good indicator.

European Earthworm (Lumbricus rubellus)

European earthworm

Similar to the tiger worm, the European Earthworm is distributed worldwide, with very few locations not having at least a small population of them. Some people use them for composting but they are generally less effective than tiger worms.

Common Earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris)

common worm

The Common Earthworm, like it's name implies, is one of the most common worms found in the UK. They're spread across the globe but are considered an invasive pest in some countries, due to the decline of some native species. In the US they are sometimes known as Nightcrawlers. Due to their tendency to burrow, they aren't suited for composting.

Indian Blues (Perionyx excavatus)

Indian blue

Popular in Northern America and Australia, these worms are notable for their ability to create ultra fine worm castings very quickly (worm poo!). They are native to Asia and are much more commonly used for composting there.

African Nightcrawler (Eudrilus eugeniae)

African nightcrawler

Like the name suggests, this worm is native to Africa, they are typically twice the size of tiger worms but are just as useful for vermicomposting. These worms are typically better suited to more tropical climates, as they tend to struggle with severe temperature changes.

If you're looking to start your own Wormery we highly reccomend using tiger worms to get you started!

The Benefits of Composting

the benefits of composting header image

The Benefits of Composting

There are a number of ways to get involved with composting, from using a standard wooden composter, Wormery, hot composter, and more!


How To Compost

compost

  • First of all, you need a container to hold your compost (view our range here).

  • Secondly, you need a location. Different types of containers will work better in different environments, but generally you want a consistent temperature as much as possible.

  • Some composters are suitable for outdoors, such as larger wormeries and garden composters

  • If space is an issue you can also use a container design to be used indoors, such as a Bokashi Bin or similar items.

What To Put In It?

leaves

  • Generally a mix of brown and green materials is advised

  • Green materials includes kitchen waste, grass, and weeds

  • Brown materials includes wood, cardboard, and dead leaves

  • Lime can change the acidity of the composter if there is an imbalance

  • A wormery will need Tiger Worms in order to function

Maintaining It

compost pile

  • Depending on your type of composter, you may need to turn the materials inside of it to add air in to the mix

  • Some composters are designed with this in mind, and have functions to allow the turning more easily, such as the Maze 245 Litre Compost Tumbler

  • Wormeries have different needs to traditional composters, you can find out more about Wormeries here

Using Your Compost

growing

  • Once your compost is ready you can use it in a variety of ways

  • If you're growing vegetables and herbs, the compost can be placed around the base of these plants to ensure better and healthier growth

  • Adding compost to grass will maintain and improve a healthy lawn

  • Mix with soil for use with potted plants, adding additional nutrients to the plant

  • Flower beds can be improved with the addition of compost, giving the plants an extra boost

 

If you're looking for even more of a challenge, why not try building your own Wormery? We've got an entire guide to help you along the way, plus you can purchase extra wormsguides, and materials for your Wormery from our website

A Buying Guide for Our Wormeries

Our Wormeries

  Great for kids Great for flats New Bestseller Bestseller Bestseller For dog & cat waste For dog & cat waste
Inventors of the wormery - since 1980's Junior Wormery Midi Wormery Stainless Steel Wormery Original Wormery 3 Tray Tiger Wormery 4 Tray Tiger Wormery 3 Tray Pet Poo Wormery 4 Tray Pet Poo Wormery

Junior Wormery

Midi Wormery

Stainless Steel Indoor Wormery

Original Wormery

Multi Tray Tiger Wormery



Price £40 £49.99 £109.99 £64.99 £59.99 £70 £71.99 £82
Dimensions Diameter: 35cm
Height: 36cm
Diameter: 36cm
Height: 43cm
Diameter: 34cm
Height: 43cm

Height: 77cm

Width: 61cm
Depth: 44cm

Height: 53-74cm*
Width: 42cm
Depth: 42cm

*Height expands as compost builds

Height: 56-87cm*
Width: 42cm
Depth: 42cm

*Height expands as compost builds

Height: 53-74cm*
Width: 42cm
Depth: 42cm

*Height expands as compost builds

Height: 56-87cm*
Width: 42cm
Depth: 42cm

*Height expands as compost builds

Capacity 18 Litres 27 Litres 30 Litres 100 Litres 46.5 Litres 62 Litres  46.5 Litres 62 Litres
Suitable for 1 Person 1-2 People 2-3 People Family Family Family 1 Large or
3 Medium Dogs
 2 Large or
4-5 Medium Dogs
Colours Silver Silver Stainless Steel Silver Black
Green
Terracotta
Red
Purple
Blue
Black
Green
Terracotta
Red
Purple
Blue
Black
Green
Terracotta
Red
Purple
Blue
Black
Green
Terracotta
Red
Purple
Blue
Everything you need is included when you buy a Wormery
Tiger Worms, Lime Mix, Coir Block for Wormery Bedding & Instructions
Tiger Worms
or
Worm Voucher
Yes
250g
Yes
250g
Yes
250g
Yes
250g
Yes
250g
Yes
250g
Yes
250g
Yes
250g
Lime Mix Yes
1.5kg
Yes
1.5kg
Yes
1.5kg
Yes
1.5kg
Yes
1.5kg
Yes
1.5kg
Yes
1.5kg
Yes
1.5kg
Coir Block for Wormery Bedding Yes
650g
Yes
650g
Yes
650g
Yes
650g
Yes
650g
Yes
650g
Yes
650g
Yes
650g
Aeration Brass Vent Brass Vent Brass Vent Brass Vents Airflow Lid Airflow Lid Airflow Lid Airflow Lid
Drainage Drainage Platform Drainage Platform Stainless Steel Tray Platform Patented Drainage System Multi-Tray Drainage and Sloped Sump Tray Multi-Tray Drainage and Sloped Sump Tray Multi-Tray Drainage and Sloped Sump Tray Multi-Tray Drainage and Sloped Sump Tray
Ease of Harvesting Liquid Feed 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star
Ease of Harvesting Compost 4 Star 4 Star 4 Star 4 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star
Rubberised Compression Lid Seal Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Expandable? No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stand No No Yes
Built-In
Yes
Available
Yes
Included
Yes
Included
Yes
Included
Yes
Included
5 Year Guarantee Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Helpline Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
30 Day Money Back Guarantee Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price £40 £49.99 £109.99 £64.99 £59.99 £70 £71.99 £82

How To Maintain Your Wormery Through Autumn

How to maintain your wormery through autumn

What problems do wormeries face in autumn?


Wetter and cooler weather could cause big problems for your wormery if you don’t take any measures to protect it from the elements. The biggest problems that wormeries face during the autumn months is the risk of your worms getting drowned or it is becoming too cold for them to effectively work. Autumn is the season in which temperatures drop and the rain doesn’t stop, this could lead to rain entering your wormery, especially if it is left outside without any shelter. So, it is vital that you keep an eye out to check how soggy your compost and waste is getting.

Another big problem wormery owners face is when the temperature drops as the worms struggle to cope with the cold. Worms work best in a constant temperature which isn’t too hot or too cold, ideally between 15 - 25oC. Therefore, during the autumn times, keeping your wormery outside is not advised.

Read more

Worm Trivia

Worm Trivia

10 facts you always wanted to know!

1.  If you cut a worm in half it will probably die, one 'half' may survive and regrow but you will not get two worms.

2. The only possibly reasonable negative or bad thing about a worm is that some humans don't like them- which is hardly the worms fault. Worms only eat dead organic matter. Nothing more and nothing less. This immediately puts them towards the very top of the list of beneficial and harmless life forms on the planet. We humans alas are towards the bottom.

Read more

How To Make A DIY Wormery

How To Make A DIY Wormery

Helpful advice for those of you feeling adventurous!


If you are reasonably competent at basic DIY projects and work then making a Wormery is not a daunting task. That said and as with so many DIY matters a little pre thought and planning goes a long way.

Perhaps the simplest approach is to start with a suitable plastic container such as an old waterbutt, dustbin or the like. However you can, of course, start from scratch and build your wormery from wood or other material depending upon availability and your expertise. Car tyres seem to be a popular choice but watch out for escapees!

The first issues to consider are about design and the following questions should be addressed :-



  1. Do you mind some worms escaping as long as the wormery works (Probably not sensible if located inside!)

  2. Would you be put off with flies in your wormery?

  3. How much of what type of waste do you want the wormery to cope with?


What follows assumes that you are starting with a suitable plastic bin or container ready for conversion. Even so the principles involved are applicable to a build from scratch approach.

If either (or both) of 1 and 2 above are important to you then you will need to consider how to make your wormery sealed yet sufficiently aerated to allow the worms to thrive. Depending upon your type of lid, then some judiciously applied draught excluder and some clips or weights to hold the lid closed should work well. For aeration the smallest holes you are likely to be able to drill will almost certainly permit the ingress of flies to your wormery and the egress of worms from it. The best answer is to drill several holes small holes and then edge stick a piece of gauze on the inside.

You now need to drill your tap hole and fix your tap. As with most design problems a compromise is required here. To maximise the liquid that can flow out of the tap without tilting the Wormery you want the tap as low as possible. On the other hand to harvest the liquid you want the tap accessible to a watering can or similar so want it located higher.

Our recommendation is to drill the tap hole so the centre is at least 1" (25mm) above the base of the bin and then to use bricks or blocks to raise the unit for easy access. A 25mm (1") diameter hole will be right for a standard plastic water butt tap.

Next is the vital matter of creating a separate platform that will keep worms and solids above whilst allowing the easy flow of liquid into the sump created beneath the separating tray. Getting this right is central to the functioning of your DIY Wormery.

Ideas for this include fine mesh supported on bricks; a cut to size piece of wood or plastic with holes drilled in again supported on bricks or the like. Another option is the suspension of a porous sack from the rim of the wormery so it hangs to about an inch above tap level. The choice is yours, but the simple objective is to facilitate good drainage and thus avoid water logging.

If you are looking to purchase a wormery instead of building one, you can do that by exploring our wormeries category. All of our wormeries include worms and the required components so you're ready to go!

Purple, Black and Red Wormeries

©Copyright 2021 - The Wormery is a trading name of GM8 Group Ltd. A company registered in England & Wales (company number 04414980)