Friday, 29 November 2013

Recycling at Christmas

Recycling Officers from Oxfordshire district councils will be at the following events, giving out information on recycling at Christmas: If you can't make it to an event to meet the recycling officers, they have plenty of ideas on their Christmas recycling web page!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Tour an Oxfordshire Anaerobic Digestion Plant

Becky Lake, the Oxfordshire Waste Partnership’s Communications Officer, has organised a free tour of the new Anaerobic Digestion facility at Cassington, near Eynsham, on Monday 23rd September at 3pm.

This is our second AD plant in Oxfordshire, and it’s where some of the district and city councils take their collected food waste. The process produces a gas that is converted to electricity and sent to the Grid, as well as a digestate liquid used by local farmers on their fields.

If you’d like to know more, or to book a place on the tour, please contact Becky direct on

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Oxfordshire welcomes nine new Master Composters

Left to right: Claire Bell, Moyra Holmes, Jan Holah, Jenny Chambers, Eiles, Sam Clarke, Viccy Hatton, Ailsa Barber, Tessa Hammond and Manda Joyce.

Following another successful foundation training session at Garden Organic on 18th and 19th May, our nine new volunteers have hit the ground running.

Events already undertaken include:

  • Charlbury Farmers Market
  • Bridewell Organic Open Day
  • ‘Living off the land’ at Millets Farm Garden Centre
  • Activities at East Street Children’s Centre in Banbury
  • Blewbury Festival
  • Seven Roads Open Gardens Weekend in Oxford
  • Leafield Fete
  • Banbury Hobby Horse Fair
  • and Thame Show!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Compost top tips from Oxfordshire Master Composters

New MC Sam Clarke sharing composting tips at the recent Seven Roads Open Gardens in Oxford

David Garrett at Garden Organic recently asked us to submit our top composting tips for publication in an upcoming Grow Your Own magazine.

Oxfordshire Master Composters came up with an impressive response.

There was just too much to print, but here is an edited selection of some very good top tips:

  • Security - add your shredded personal documents to the bin as ‘brown’ to balance the ‘green’.
  • For quicker-made compost, place bin in a sunny place, chop up garden waste and mix, adding straw if you don’t have enough browns to stop the compost turning wet.
  • Did you know you can site your compost bin on slabs? The friendly bugs will still find their way there.
  • Keep your paper shreddings by the compost heap so when the grass gets cut you have something to mix it with.
  • Top of my list would be using the Bokashi system or a wormery to process kitchen waste.
  • If you chop everything up small, it will make turning easier and decomposition quicker.
  • If you are using a plastic compost bin, don't let it get too dry. Either leave the top off when you know it is due to rain or just add a little water.
  • Be wary of composting anything spiky - the prickles seem to take a lot longer to rot down than anything else!
  • Roll your own – a lidded water butt is a cheap alternative to a tumbler if you have space to roll it on the ground. Mine is full of grass cuttings and a little sawdust.
  • Once you've gone to all that trouble to make it, don't forget to use it.
  • Ask your local cafe or restaurant whether they have used coffee grounds going spare - they're great for the heap!
  • Definitely talk loudly about compost making at a party - you'll be surprised how excited people get about it!
  • If it stinks, don't despair. Turn it over and give it some air (that one rhymes).
  • My kitchen caddy is next to the kettle, so I can tip spent coffee grounds and tea bags straight in.

What's your top composting tip?

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Evidence of Worms!!

by MC Lynda Smith

I started as a volunteer with Leonard Cheshire in Banbury five years ago, helping to run a gardening club for disabled people - all wheelchair users. We call ourselves the Green Wheelies.

The first challenge was that the purpose-built residential home had patio gardens - no raised beds! The unseen challenge was that it had been built on a disused car park!

As we tried digging into the soil on the patio gardens, we discovered there was only the soil laid down by the contractors - it was one of the Green Wheelies who had to point out to me during our second year that there were no worms in the soil. So we persuaded the home manager to allow us to have two compost bins placed outside the kitchens, so we could encourage staff to recycle and build up stores of useful compost.

Last week, while digging over the patio gardens, we were delighted to find worms - not sure what one resident has been adding to his patio garden but his worms were extra large (when using the Compost Game quiz, I do remember him taking an interest in the idea of urine for the compost heap!!)

We now have raised beds, thanks to Barclays who sponsored a staff gardening day for us, and we have filled the raised beds with compost from a Cherwell District Council Compost Giveaway event.

There were problems in the first year with foxes coming in and digging up the raised beds. Garden Organic were contacted and suggested they were after the worms and, rather than remove the worms, we could try obtaining lions’ poo which would frighten them off, or try leaving human hair around. Human hair inside socks were left in a corner of each raised bed and it seemed to work.

The things we do to encourage the worms! 

Compost bins advertised on Oxford city parking tickets

Next time you happen to park in one of Oxford’s Park & Rides at Seacourt, Redbridge or Peartree, or at some of the other city car parks, turn over your ticket and you might see an advert for compost bins!