How our compost is made
Good quality compost is crucial to healthy plants and vegetables and good-looking borders. But how exactly is our compost made and what goes into it? The answer is; a lot of TLG: time, love and green waste.
What is compost
Compost is a group name for a variety of different types of soil improver, ranging from homemade compost to peat, leafmould and even top soil. Our soil improver is made using a completely natural process and consists of only natural ingredients, also called green waste. This biodegradable waste consists of garden or park waste such as flower and grass cuttings, leaves, weeds and hedge trimmings. And, as it uses only green waste, it is entirely recyclable, peat-free, and sustainable.
Our green waste is collected from:
- commercial sites and
- house hold waste recycling sites.
After collection the vehicles deposit the green waste in a holding area on the composting site. The amount deposited can range from 40m³ to 80m³, generally the maximum capacity of a walking floor or artic tipper. Here you can see a walking floor pushing the green waste onto the holding area. At this stage the composting process has already started as you can see by the steam coming off the material.
What happens next
As soon as the green waste arrives, hand pickers sift through the material to take out any visible contamination. This happens at several stages throughout the process to ensure smaller pieces of plastic are removed. The green waste is shredded and stored in batches, called windrows to optomise the composting process. The material is monitored, turned over and moved to keep the optimum temperature and moisture, which removes bad bacteria and increases healthy bacteria that create the decaying process. Combined with sending regular samples of compost and testing for approval, the soil improver will ultimately reach the British Standard: BSI PAS 100 standard.
From start to finish, the process of composting can take up to 3 months or sometimes longer! The first few weeks are all about turning and resting the material to get high temperatures that remove the bad bacteria. Following that it is about being mindful that it doesn’t get too hot to optimize the process. When the compost is well composted it gets to the final stage of the process, which is the separation of the large and small particles, using a screening machine, which, depending on the setting, will give either a fine or a coarser soil improver. The particles can be used as a coarse mulch on its own, or barks can be added to it to make a special blend. Anything left over is sent back to the start of the process.
The end result
The 0-10 and 0-30 mm organic soil improver is full of nutrients, has a lovely dark colour and offers a very healthy soil structure which crumbles easily. The 0-10mm is great for many end users; house hold gardeners, allotmenteers, horticulturalists, landscapers and more. The coarser product tends to be used by farmers as it is very economical.