Where there’s muck

“Where there’s muck there’s brass”. This old saying is something I experienced literally back in my Mulberry days, when I used to visit brass foundries in Walsall. I was sourcing brass fittings for handbag designs. Heavy, solid, built to last forever.

In the grimy darkness of the Victorian-built foundries, burly men heaved moulds and poured white-hot molten metals. Sand was everywhere to catch the flying sparks. The air was ripe with expletives and sweat. Upstairs, an army of ladies sat in rows on wooden benches, sanding and polishing, as if auditioning for a Dickens film. Out came beautiful solid brass buckles and D-rings. Each was wrapped in tissue and boxed like expensive sweets.

Now I’m making something beautiful myself out of muck, turning all our kitchen waste into compost. I’ve got two systems on the go. A pair of wormeries, and a pair of bokashi bins.

Wormeries

The wormeries are mini compost ‘factories’ made up of layered trays with perforated bases. You add kitchen vegetable trimmings to the first, where an army of tiger worms get to work in the warmth, turning it into compost. When this is full you put a second tray on top, add more vegetable scraps and the worms move up and get busy. The whole becomes a compost making machine, with several layers in different stages. You simply remove the bottom tray to access a useful amount of ultra-rich compost ‘caviar’.

What can’t go into the wormery I put in one of my sealed bokashi bins. I add anything the worms won’t fancy (onions, citrus), cooked food (left over rice, pasta) or because it’s smelly. (meat scraps, fish skins).  Plus any excess vegetable  greenery. The bokashi system works by layering the contents with a special bran, which starts off a fermentation process. Once full just leave it for a few weeks. You can then dig this neutralised ‘mush’ into the garden to safely decompose further.

Both systems have taps to filter off excess liquid, which I dilute and use as a feed ‘tea’ for any potted plants.

I’m happy to know that there’s very seldom any food waste that leaves our cottage and that it’s all converted so easily to something really useful.

bokashi bins

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