John Ingham’s beautiful Larkhall garden

Traditional garden composting is rarely as easy as it should be. There are two basic methods – composting in a bin and using wormeries. The first method excludes food waste and often produces slimy wet material which isn’t much good in the garden. Wormeries can be expensive and don’t deal with large amounts of material. For several years I have been using my own system which has elements of both and which seems to work. All our household and garden waste goes though it – bones are literally the only food waste material which goes from our house into the Council collection. The compost produced seems to work well as a mulch on my vegetable beds and around fruit bushes and ornamental plants. Now that I have been doing this for a while I would like to try an experiment locally to see whether other households can make it work.



The system is simple. I mix all our food waste, even including meat, fish, pasta and bread, with garden waste and some shredded materials. These all go in bins with clip on lids which have a number of small holes drilled around the bottom. The bottom 150mm (6in) or so of the bins are buried in the soil so that worms, wood lice and whatever is interested in eating the material, can get into it. I even put occasional slugs and snails into the bins.

P1220516Basically whatever is interested in digesting the material is welcome (mice and rats should not be able to penetrate the system – they haven’t got into my bins so far). Once the materials have been through the guts of a creature, no matter how small, they make a lovely rich compost. I add shredded materials, sieved after passing through a shredder, for the worms to breed in. Leaves, turf, even soil might serve this function just as well. Once a bin has filled with all this material I leave it for a month or two to “digest” whilst the second bin is filled. The length of time for the first bin to digest depends on the time of year and the materials. Once digested I put it through a garden sieve and all the large stuff which won’t go through the sieve goes into the second bin. The fine stuff which goes through the sieve makes great compost.


I would like to hear from up to four local households who would like to try this in their own gardens. I will provide the basic bins etc. You just need a spot, preferably shady, where you can stand the two bins. I’ll show you how my bins work and help you start up your own. I’ll also provide written instructions and back up.  John Ingham.

If you are interested please contact me at john.ingham@yahoo.co.uk or through the Transition Larkhall form below.


David Attenborough.