Posts Tagged ‘wooden compost bin’

Next week (17-23 May) is Recycle Week.

We are all aware that recycling is very important to the environment, I am sure that many people recycle items of their rubbish in their weekly collections, but could we do more? Can we recycle our waste and benefit our garden?

 Twin Bin Composter from The Recycle Works

Green Waste

Millions of tonnes of green garden waste are produced each year, don’t throw it away it contains valuable nutrients. Set up a compost bin to collect and transform your garden waste (grass, prunings, leaves, weeds etc) into wonderful home-made compost which can be used to grow flowers/vegetables, as a soil improver or as a mulch.  Teabags, Cardboard, Newspaper and Fruit and Vegetable peelings can all be added to the compost bin too.

 Twin Bokashi Bucket System

Food Waste

Cooked food waste including meat, fish and vegetables is usually thrown away but can be recycled in a Bokashi Compost Bucket using EM’s – Effective Microrganisms without the fear of smells. Simply place your scraps into the bucket with a sprinkling of Bokashi Bran and re-seal the lid, when your bucket is full leave for two weeks keeping the lid sealed and either dig the contents into the garden or add to your compost bin. Whilst the compost is maturing a nutrient rich liquid is produced, dilute this with water 1:100 and use as a plant feed in the home or garden.

Harcoster Rain Diverter


Gardens can be very ‘thirsty’ especially during warm weather to reduce the amount of tap water you use collect rainwater from your down pipes with a rain diverter and store in water butts.

Paper Potter

Biodegradable pots

Why not make your own pots out of newspaper using a Paper Potter they are very easy to make and great fun for children to do. Egg boxes are great for filling with compost and sowing seeds in, cardboard rolls and toilet roll tubes are perfect for sweet peas, peas and beans as they provide a deeper root run, keep the containers continually moist to allow the roots to penetrate, once planted they will rot down.

 Love Your Environment shopping bag

Shopping Bags

We as a nation use far too many plastic bags, millions go into landfill sites and thousands more become nuisance litter in our countryside, towns and even our seas, looking unsightly and becoming a danger to our precious wildlife. Invest in a reusable shopping bag that will last for years, helping the environment and if it’s a Fair-trade one it helps farmers and workers in developing countries too, it’s a good idea to keep one by the front door as well as a couple in the car.

 PIR Solar Utility Light

Solar Power

Save electricity by recycling the suns energy with solar powered lights which are bright enough to use inside your shed or greenhouse and to light up your garden and feature plants.

Odd Socks!!!

Ever wondered what to do with all those odd socks, if you collect rainwater direct from your greenhouse or shed roof pop one of them on the end of the down pipe to collect the dust and debris keeping the water clean, replace when required!

Reducing And Recycling Waste In Schools

If you have got the recycling bug and want to do more there are many good books on the subject including Recycle – The Essential Guide and Reducing and Recycling Waste in Schools.

Love your environment – reduce, reuse and recycle


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Hopefully by now, if the weather has been kind where you live, your Sunflowers will have flowered and developed into rings of nice fat seeds.

As you can see mine have grown well but some of them are yet to flower, I hope that this spell of sunny weather will encourage them to flower and set their seeds.

The varieties I have grown this year are Titan and Russian Giant as they have large heads and hopefully plenty of seeds for the birds.

I love Sunflowers, I grow them for their stunning flowers, which benefit the bees and insects, and their seeds, which I save for the birds, if you want to save some of your seeds for the birds or to grow next year here’s what you need to do.

  1. When the backs of the Sunflower heads turn yellow cut them off leaving about 30cm of stem attached and hang them upside down somewhere warm, dry and well ventilated (to prevent them going mouldy).
  2. Tie a brown paper bag around the Sunflower heads to catch any seeds that drop out.
  3. Once the backs of the Sunflower heads have turned brown and dry your Sunflower seeds are ready to harvest, they should pop out when you run your hands over the heads.
  4. Lay the seeds out on newspaper to completely dry out and to remove any flower heads/leaves then store the seeds in a cool dry place in an airtight container.

A Sunflower head that has finished flowering

Make a Bug House with your Sunflower stems

After you have cut the heads off the plants, the remaining stems can go into the Compost Bin or instead if they are hollow why not use them to make an Bug House. Cut the stems into 10 – 15cm lengths and squeeze them into a washed large pop bottle which has had the top cut off (ask an adult to do this), apply tape around the rough cut edge for safety, place at an angle with the open end slightly pointing downwards in a sheltered, dry and shady spot in your garden, this will make an great Bug House for over wintering insects.

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We recently received an email from Georgina asking for advice on setting up her school garden.  This is something we are often asked about so we though you might find it useful too.  Here is her question along with our advice…

I am just starting a gardening club at my primary school.  Do you have any tips/advise?  It will be during the school day so it can be available to as many children as possible.  Just ironing out running eg. which year group etc.

Hi Georgina Many thanks for your enquiry. It sounds like you have an exciting project on your hands.

Our advice would be to start fairly simply. Using raised beds saves lots of effort fighting weeds and digging over heavy soil.   For a good selection of easy-to-assemble options take a look here.

Also don’t forget you can grow lots of vegetables, salads and flowers in containers and on windowsills – more ideas on the options available can be found by following this link.

If the school garden is going to be used through the school day you can think creatively about how gardening can be linked into the national curriculum. Take a look here for ideas on how to do that.

We have written lots of information on setting up a school garden here with useful links to getting started including articles on gardening in raised beds, composting and lots more.

For ideas of gardening jobs to do in autumn take a look here  and for information on seeds to sow for a winter harvest you might find this link useful. 

Best of luck with your plans and do let us know how you get along.

From Charlotte and the Gardening With Children Team

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This week we received an enquiry from Debra about composting fruit waste in schools, and we thought a few of you might find our advice useful….

For an excellent range of well designed compost bins visit http://www.recycleworks.co.uk.

School fruit waste is suitable to put in a compost bin, and if included with other green waste and then mixed with  50% brown waste such as thin cardboard or shredded paper, it will make compost that is suitable for use in the school garden. 
However the general advice is it’s often not achievable to compost all of the fruit waste generated in school, due to the quantities involved. 
As a general guide if the school is generating large volumes of fruit waste it is better to compost only what you can and have a well balanced compost bin that is working well.  That way everyone has a positive experience of composting, the children find it a useful learning exercise and everyone involved is then more likely to begin composting at home. 
Some people also worry about the fruit flies associated with this type of waste, but if the lid is left off the compost bin on a windy day, they will disperse quite easily. 
It’s also worth bearing in mind that because fruit waste is acidic it is particularly important to balance it with the shredded cardboard and maintain a good air circulation. 
The soil around a compost bin can be affected by the contents of the bin.  For example, the grass may grow quicker and be greener due to the leaching out of nutrients. 
For more information on composting take a look at our fact sheet – How to Make Compost.

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With autumn in the air, now is the perfect time to get composting. So for this months school competition we thought it would be fun to have a Mini Composting Quiz.

Why not have a go, it will only take a few minutes and it’s a fun way to learn more about composting. …And the first lucky school out of the hat will win one of these brilliant Children’s Twin Wooden Compost. Made from FSC wood and treated with non-toxic preservative it’s a perfect way to get kids excited about composting.  …But the closing date is 30th September 2010 so enter today! 


So here are the questions

Which one of the following helps to make compost in the compost bin? (a)Birds, (b)Worms or (c)Squirrels

List 3 things you can put on the compost heap

List 3 things you should avoid putting on the compost heap

True or False? – Some moisture is important for composting and helps the vegetation to break down but too much water makes the compost smelly and sloppy

Why do you think it’s important to compost kitchen and garden waste?

Send you entries by email to competitions@gardeningwithchildren.co.uk or fill in the form here and send by post to Gardening With Children, Unit 1, Bee Mill, Ribchester, PR3 3XJ.

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Spring begins this month, and as mother nature begins to stir from her winter slumber there is already a little sniff of it in the air.

The birds are singing that little bit louder, the daylight is lasting that little bit longer, and the spring lambs are skipping around the field behind our house, much to the delight of the children.

There are lots of gardening jobs to do this month.  With plenty of preparations to be made for the growing season and lots of early planting in propagators and on windowsills to be getting on with.  …And by getting organised now things will be nicely set up for the future months when everything in the garden gets incredibly busy.

So for ideas and a little inspiration do take a look at our Gardening Jobs for March, and love your environment a little along the way!

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Beat The January Blues – Save 10% Off All Orders From Recycleworks This Weekend Only! 


10% Off ImageThe Recycle Works team have all been really busy this week doing all their New Year tasks and continuing to source lots of fantastic new products for you which we’ll be telling you more about soon.
As the weather seems to have reverted back to being wet and windy, we thought we should do something that should hopefully make all our customers feel happier by offering you 10% off all orders placed this weekend!
With FREE Mainland UK delivery on all orders over £15 too, we’ll get your orders out to you straight away so you can be enjoying them next week.
And once again please don’t forget that this offer is available THIS WEEKEND ONLY, so quote ‘TENPERCENT‘ in the Discount Code Section* on the website and you’ll receive a winter warming 10% off your order!


Solitary Bee Hive
Solitary Bee Hive

This Solitary Bee Hive  is perfect for attracting more bees to your garden.  It is fully interactive and has individual cell trays so you can keep an eye on any bees using the hive and clean it out when necessary.
Price: £22.99 

Cold Frames
Cold Frame

Cold Frames are made at our factory from FSC wood treated with chestnut non-toxic preservative. The lid is made from (unbreakable) polycarbonate which is uv stable (it will not let in harmful rays & will not burn plants).
Price: £89.00

Wild Bird Survival Kit 
Bird Feed Gift Hamper

Made from FSC wood, this Wild Bird Survival Kit will make an ideal present for anyone who is keen on feeding the birds in their garden.
Price: £24.99

Compost Bins
twin composter


The Twin Wooden Compost Bin is easy to assemble, no nails, no screws, no holes to dig. Twin compartments allow for one side to mature whilst filling the other. 

Price: £145.46

Solar Insect Theatre
Solar Insect Theatre   

The Solar Insect Theatre features unique solar lighting  that automatically lights up at dusk attracting Moths, Lacewings, Butterflies and other interesting flying insects into the Theatre.

Price: £29.50


Raised Beds
wooden raised bed 

 Wooden Raised Beds will allow your roots to grow long, straight and strong.
The crop will be easy to harvest to perfection.
Ideal if your plot has poor drainage.

Price: £52.16

There are lots more great products available on the Recycle Works website and please do keep looking at our very Special Offers that change on a regular basis.

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Well the days are still short and can feel pretty chilly at times, but there is still lots to be doing in the garden.  So do what we did this weekend… get on a thick jumper and a pair of wellies and get out there…. You’ll soon find lots of jobs to be getting on with. 

For our ideas on what to be doing at this time of year take a look at our Guide to Gardening Jobs in January and February

From tidying up and cutting back to preparing the soil for the growing season, painting and repairing fences to setting up a compost bin or raised bed, planting onion and garlic under cloches …the list is endless.

And if the weather is really very unpleasant why not get started on sowing some of the early crops in a heated propagator.  This will give the plants the perfect head start in time for spring.

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The harvesting season is now in full swing and the winning and loosing crops of the year begin to make themselves know. 

In the feast and famine world that is our allotment, now is definitely a time of feasting with gluts of runner beans, courgettes and soft fruits.  We returned this week after two weeks away, and found that we barely recognised our beautifully tended plot, which seemed to have run rampant and wild almost overnight. 

To make the best of your harvest here are some helpful tips.

  • Always harvest crops when they are at their best.  Don’t be tempted to just pick what you want for your immediate needs and then leave the rest, as crops will quickly go over, with lettuces bolting, runner beans going stringy and broad beans turning into bullets. And that’s to say nothing of the pests that will be eyeing things up ready to pounce. 
  • If you have a surplus try setting up a bit of an exchange scheme with fellow gardeners.  That way you get to taste crops that you haven’t grown, in exchange for things you have too much of – a real win win!
  • For crops that store well such as onions and garlic clean off, and dry out in a cool dark space.  If kept correctly these can last very well for many months.  Take a look at these great wooden storage boxes, perfectly designed for storing fruit, vegetables and bulbs.


  • If you are getting a bit bored of the same vegetables get adventurous and check our blog regularly for recipe ideas.  There are lots of recipes available for soups, chutneys and jams and we will be featuring our favourites over the coming weeks.


  • As each crop comes to an end don’t forget to recycle all of your plant waste in a compost bin.  That way you will have some lovely soil conditioner all ready for the next gardening year.


  • Don’t forget to involve the children in the harvesting activities.  My children love it and although they seem to want to eat most of it, guzzling raw beans and peas like no tomorrow, I do get a sense of satisfaction at getting them to eat their greens so easily at this time of year.  The children’s trug and wheelbarrow are designed with children in mind and are perfect for harvesting activities.

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Eventually everything nature produces returns naturally to the earth and is recycled.   By following a few simple steps, composting in school is a great way to produce good compost for the garden and will also reduce the need for chemical fertilisers.  It also helps to reduce waste and provides children with a great lesson in recycling.  For an excellent selection of wooden compost bins and accessories take a look at the Recycleworks range here.

The Recycleworks Quadruple Compost Bin

The Recycleworks Quadruple Compost Bin

But composting in school can have its challenges, like too much fruit and excess paper and hand towels.  In our Composting in Schools fact sheet we give you lots of handy guidance – from selecting a good location, to handling different types of waste material.  Why not take a look for more information at www.gardeningwithchildren.co.uk

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