Eves Hill Veg Co will be holding a Compost Giveaway as part of its next community work day on Saturday 25 March from 10 am – 4 pm. The event will give local residents a chance to see what is happening at this environmentally positive, vegetable growing community project in Booton.
People will be welcome to come and help themselves to compost – just bring your own fork and sacks. The site can be found through the entrance to Eves Hill Farm on Norwich Road, Booton, next to the campsite.
Organiser Hannah Claxton explained: “This is compost provided by Norse and its green waste compost site at Marsham. It is bulky organic matter suitable for mulching, very sterile (weed-free), quite low in nutrients, but improves with time as the bacteria return to it.
“Recommended use is as a top dressing/mulch on vegetable or flower beds to reduce weed burden and build soil structure. It also helps the soil to warm up quicker in spring by the nature of its dark colouring, enabling earlier planting and plant growth.”
Ms Claxton explained that adding organic matter to the soil feeds the soil life, which in turn process any nutrients and swap them with the plant roots in return for plant exudates, such as carbohydrates, sugars and proteins.
“So the higher the organic matter levels in your soil, the more ‘available’ nutrients are to plants. As the soil life processes the organic matter (here in the form of compost), they stabilise the content into a form known as ‘humus’, which helps build soil structure – the varying size of spaces between particles drain water and hold onto water at the same time, giving a good mix of air and water for plant roots and soil life.
“Humus also has magical, electrical ion properties (cation exchange capacity), much like clay soils, which hold onto nutrients and stop them leaching out of the soil, swapping nutrients with plant roots in return for highly mobile hydrogen ions.
“This compost is not suitable for potting compost or for direct sowing where you need a fine tilth. In the case of direct sowing I prepare and rake the soil, direct sow shallowly and top dress (e.g. peas/broad beans/radish/beetroot).
“It would work well in combination with home-made compost or animal manure, especially if you are growing plants that have higher nutrient requirements, such as squash or potatoes.”
Organic vegetable growing courses
Throughout spring and summer, Eves Hill Veg Co will be running five one-day courses on organic vegetable growing at Easton & Otley College.
The courses will take place on Saturdays from 10 am – 4 pm and will provide a mixture of classroom and practical learning, covering a wide range of organic techniques. They are suitable for allotment growers, backyard vegetable growers and anyone wishing to develop their skills using organic principles.
The first course – Planning the vegetable year – will be held on Saturday 18 March. More information HERE