Happy Compost Awareness Week!

I potted these up yesterday before I realised it's Compost Awareness Week - how timely :) It's a variety of comfrey called Bocking 14, a strain developed during the 1950s by Lawrence Hills, the founder of Garden Organic. Bocking in Essex was the home of the organisation's HQ at the time.

Bocking 14 is sterile, so it's not as invasive as its parent Russian comfrey, though I'm still going to think carefully where I finally plant these as its root run is pretty extensive. With my new raised beds plus an extra bin to fill, I need to make lots more compost. This comfrey is my first step towards keeping the mouths of my hungry compost bins filled. I'm also planning on making better use of our lawn clippings balanced out with lots of extra shredded paper to stop my compost becoming a green slimy mess.

John Harrison has written an excellent guide to comfrey and its uses - well worth a read.

How do you keep your compost bins well fed?

Additional reading:

You may also like last year's post on Talking Compost at Holt Farm about how they make their own organic compost mixes.

Update: Head Gardener James is doing his "Slugs, Bugs, Trug and a Pug" talk this Friday at Holt Farm in support of Horatio's Garden for SSIT. So now's your chance to find out how they do it first hand AND for a good cause :)


  1. I'm rather pleased with how our compost turns out. I put it down to the worms rather than me. We have one of those bins where you put vegetation in at the top and compost comes out at the bottom. I like the way the best has no smell and the second best has a delicious lemony scent. The problem I have with it - that my plants are packed so tightly together there's no room for digging it in. We used to use all our compost at our allotment. Now, allotmentless, it's released for our garden - which needs it for it has very poor soil. But the only way I can give it to the plants is to dig them up gently bung compost in the hole, stir it around a bit with the other earth there and put the plant back. For while I tried merely spreading it over the surface and watering it in the hope the goodness seeped down but it made a shell like crust on top of the soil - so I stopped.

  2. We have 3 large wooden sided compost bins, but still never have enough! One is being emptied at the moment, one is cooking away merrily by itself and should be ready to spread in the autumn and the third is being filled in layers. We keep all the brown dry bits that we have cut down in early spring and now that grass cutting has started, we are now able to layer them. any papers that we shred get mixed in, waste from the hoover, all cardboard gets torn up,and of course every day, the vegetable peelings, tea bags, coffee grounds etc. This is what they call a cold heap, but even so, it is ready to use in a year, lovely crumbly sweet smelling stuff!

  3. I have a handful of comfrey plants which I leave to flower for the bees then cut right back and add to the compost heap. I do that several times a year, and is one job where I always wear gloves!
    I add just about everything to my heap which only gets emptied once a year. Flighty xx

  4. I'm having a similar problem with my compost. Two bins was perfectly fine when I was just container gardening but the bank holiday weekend has left me with 3 raised beds to fill. I've emptied all my containers and compost that is ready into bed number 1, but still need more. I've found a good supply of shredded paper though and the grass needs mowing so it's time to get into production!

  5. My compost is greatly helped by the guinea pigs! It used to always go slimy no matter what I tried, but since the addition of the guinea pig waste it comes out beautifully crumbly, and much, much quicker to boot :-)

  6. I've started mowing the lawn like a crop, so I don't get a huge amount of grass all at once, but can feed the bin with it more gradually.

  7. Linda - thanks for this and all your comments by email :)

    Esther - try mulching in the autumn - the worms should help drag it down into the soil over the winter

    Pauline - there's never enough compost is there?

    Flighty - good tip re wearing gloves, I hear comfrey's hairs can be a skin irritant

    Pookledo - welcome :) Shredded paper + grass clippings is my cunning plan!

    Catherine - I used to collectmy next door neighbours guinea pig + rabbit bedding. Superb stuff, but alas their pets are long gone :(

    Helen - that's a good idea :)


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