When I went over to Medwyn Williams in Anglesey, I mentioned my need for a lot of compost and his son, Alwyn, put me in touch with Moelyci environmental centre near Tregarth. Amongst many other things, they convert green waste into compost.
My neighbour kindly agreed to play delivery man with his large 4×4 and 2 tonne capacity tipping-trailer, so we arranged to pick up Friday. That was a bit of a mistake, it was cold, windy and very, very wet. A rough winter’s day, not what you expect in June.
Making compost on a large scale is actually very similar to making compost at home but on a larger scale. First of all, collect large amounts of green waste and put this through a mincer the size of a car. Keep an eye on the mix, balancing woody materials with sappy green materials as far as possible.
Pile up into triangular rows, about 3 or 4 metres high, adding water if the materials are dry. Pretty soon the heap will heat up and be steaming gently. Watch out it doesn’t catch fire in dry weather!
Once it starts to cool down, mix it up so the outside is on the inside and top to bottom and the heap will re-heat. The heat sterilises any weed or diseases. After turning a few times, just leave the heap to nature for some months.
Finally riddle the compost into bags, returning the pieces of wood etc that haven’t broken down back into the mincer and re-compost. The riddle in this case being a motorised wire drum affair about 6 feet long.
Back home we tipped them by the raised beds which only took 10 minutes or so but was long enough to get literally soaked to the skin. A break to dry out and a warming cup of tea later we headed back to Moelyci for another load.
Considering we used to pay £40 for a huge skip load of compost, delivered to the plot in Crewe, £20 a builder’s bag plus the fuel cost of £5 per bag is pretty expensive but it’s going to be some years before I can build up enough of my own to get this land as productive as my old plots were.