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Cambridge Botanical Gardens (Compost Corner) 3


By balcony


Cambridge Botanical Gardens (Compost Corner) 3

Liquid Compost

Comfrey & Nettles can make a superb liquid fertiliser. All you need is a container & some water.

Both plants grow very fast, so there will probably be a constant supply nearby.

The leaves of both Comfrey & Nettles are high in Nitrogen & Potassium. As the leaves are soft, they decompose in just a few weeks, making a good, general feed for house & garden plants. This is so strong that before use it should be diluted with ten parts water.

Making the brew!

1. Cut or shed the plants. Wear gloves, because the leaves & stems of both plants can irritate your skin.

2. Put the prepared plants into a container of water & just leave them to compost. We have used a standard water-butt with a tap.

You can add more comfrey & nettles at any time.

3. After two or three weeks, you can start draining the concentrated liquid fertilizer from the bottom of the container.

Worm Power

Worm composting (Vermicomposting) is idea if your waste is mainly kitchen scraps or if you don’t have a garden.

The worms eat the contents & digest them. Their droppings make a valuable compost for your soil.

How does it work?

Worm dropping make a fine, mineral-rich soil additive. This is high in Nitrogen & too strong to be used on its own. Mix one part of worm compost with about three parts of standard soil or potting compost.

You can make your own wormery, or buy a stacking system like this one. (See photo) We started off the worms in the second lowest container with small amounts of food. When they had eaten this this, they moved up into the next level, leaving a fine compost behind, which we removed & used. We then returned the empty tray to the top & put more fresh scraps in, ready for the worms to start the process once more.

The liquid from the compost drips into the base. This needs to be diluted with ten parts of water & used as fertilizer.

Can I use any old worms?

No, common earth worms are not suitable. You need composting worms such as Eisenia foetida or andrei that live in leaf litter, piles of manure & compost heaps. You may prefer to buy yours, as you’ll need about a thousand!

What do these worms eat?

Mostly things like lettuce & cabbage leaves, carrot tops, potato peelings, egg shells & little scraps of meat. Limit strong foods like onion, garlic, chillies, orange & lemon peels. Worms can’t process large amounts at one go, so add food little & often.

Yes, please – I like these …

Lettuce & cabbage leaves, carrot tops, potato peelings, egg shells, banana skins & fruit peelings.

… but I only eat small amounts of these …

Onion, garlic, chillies, orange & lemon peels, bread & little scraps of meat.

No, thanks – don’t give me these …

Fish, cheese, grass cuttings or metal & plastic.

The last part will come in a day or two. Hope you are finding them interesting & informative as well as useful.

This is a repost of the blog I wrote 4 years ago.

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Previous post: Cambridge Botanical Gardens (Compost Corner) 2

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Sorry about the order of the blogs. But there is no special order anyway. Everything described in these blogs can be done at almost any time.

As this is the time of year when we have the most material for composting I thought it a good idea to repost these 4 blogs on composting - I hope you'll agree with me!

26 Sep, 2013


I had lots of nettles this year. I threw them away :o( I'll make liquid out of them next year. The roots are still there, so I won't dig them up.

27 Sep, 2013


Unless you dig the roots up real well they WILL stay there & spread! But making a nettle tea is much better than killing them off with a weedkiller! They are also good in the compost heap as is Comfrey. I've put a lot of Comfrey on our compost heaps this week!

28 Sep, 2013


I got rid of the top growth because it had become too tall, It would be difficult to get rid of all the root because it grows out of a wall ... so I've decided to leave it alone because of the insects, especially lady birds.
I used to grow Comfrey but it gets too big for this garden.

29 Sep, 2013


I believe you can cut it down a couple of times a year if you wish to use it for making Nettle tea. I've cut the Comfrey plants down up to 3 times a year without any discernible ill effect on the plants! I compost the leaves. The only year I tried making tea with them was a disaster because I left it far too long & ended up with lots of maggots in the liquid - which stank anyway!

3 Oct, 2013

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