Friday, 5 March 2010

Friday 5th March 10

Up early to help keep the peace. And lo it was a peaceful morning!

Once the children were at school Gill and I were able to spend a quiet hour together and then I went out into the garden to gather the riddled compost into carrier bags... I filled 7. I also finished emptying out the Composphere which I should have returned to York Rotters in December (whoops) after testing it. The material within was only partially rotted so I put it on the top of a heap I've just finished filling with fresher stuff. I need to write a review, for York Rotters and for Composphere, so here it is:
Links to the Composphere:
the manufacturers: Crompton Mouldings
several retailers: Original Organics, Green Rewards, home4eco, Natural Collection, and there are several others. Prices range from £75 to just over £100.

I've had the Composphere since June I think, but had some problems with it falling apart when I rolled it, but eventually the manufacturer sent some replacement bolts which do work, and hold the two halves together well. I filled it quite quickly with garden materials and fruit and veg from the greengrocer. I rolled it now and again, certainly not every day, but maybe once a week, and over the next month added a bit more as the material rotted down. I did notice that the holes in the base were quite small and rested more or less on the grass, and the contents remained quite wet. My view is that it could suffer from poor drainage due to it's design, but this could be improved by careful siting to allow maximum drainage. Over the winter months it was very cold and this would have slowed down the rate of composting, and I rolled it less often due to snow. However, I did still roll it around, and the half-full sphere was quite unwieldy... you need to be strong to roll it, and you need quite a few metres of free space to be able to roll it over more than once, although in a small space, you could swivel it round and continue rotating it in the direction needed to tumble the contents.
Yesterday and today I emptied it, using a medium sized garden fork. This was not that easy, although the aperture was just big enough for the fork I was using, but as I took the partly rotted material out, some got knocked off by the sides of the hole and it was a bit untidy. Some of the material had compacted a bit, the simple rolling motion had not broken apart the clumps and there was stuff in these which hadn't rotted as well as it hadn't received enough oxygen. None of the material was ready to use, and this was to be expected as it is ridiculous to expect to be able to make compost in less than 6 months... especially during cold winter months. I forked the stuff into a garden bucket and put it on one of my working heaps to continue to rot down.

This is a batch composter... it needs to be filled and then rolled regularly with no more additions, as it mixes newer material with older. After a couple of months with no new additions and regular rolling, it can be emptied and the material placed for maturation. I would regard this as a bit of a gimmick, a 'fun composter' for enthusiastic and strong gardeners with plenty of space. It is not the best tumbler on the market, nor is it rubbish. I give it 5/10. I don't think it will be a 'best seller', but it will be enjoyed by some. It certainly seemed sturdy and fit for purpose. I wouldn't mind having one to add to my collection.
John Cossham, March 2010
I will send links to this review to York Rotters and Crompton Mouldings.

Anyway, I loaded my trailer up with the seven bags of riddled compost (which is 2 to 3 years old, but recently riddled) and the now empty Composphere. After lunch, at about 2pm, I cycled off to St Nicks to return the sphere to York Rotters for someone else to trial.

I had a chat with John, who is uncomfortable with my writing about the meeting we had on 22nd Feb, which he thought ought to have been confidential, as it concerned the complaints made about my over-enthusiastic and possibly unprofessional behaviour at last Novmber's Big Green Market, and my subsequent suspension as a York Rotter. However, no-one suggested that it should be confidential, and actually, I don't think that there was anything in the meeting which needed to be kept confidential. I don't mind anybody knowing about what I'm going through, and none of the complainants are named (I don't know who they are either!). Indeed, I think the process is quite positive, and I'm pleased at how the issues are being dealt with, despite being annoyed by the complaints in the first place.

For me, confidentiality is about protecting someone, something, or other information, and preventing that information going public. I cannot see anything in this process which needs protecting, but John asked me to look at my blog and consider removing anything which I thought might be upsetting to anybody or that could get taken out without detracting from the fact that it is my diary, and it's a meeting about me and my role in the organisation.

Later during the evening Edward rang up and we discussed openness, honesty and related subjects, and he agreed the world would be a better place if more people were honest and open, but that the reality of the situation was that many people cannot cope with it, and were in some instances frightened. I told Edward that to try to help the situation, I would remove any things that I thought were the most likely to be causing an upset. I could only find one. So that is now blanked out.

After dropping off the Composphere, I went down to town to see if I could give back a cinema ticket which I will not now be able to use (City Screen gave me my money back!) and then doubled back on myself to Country Fresh, where Rich was happy to have the bags of fresh compost. I picked up one large sack and two boxes of fruit and veg, and also two sacks from Freshways.

After a brief sit down with a coffee, I spent another hour in the garden... lovely and peaceful.

However, later on I felt a bit low as I have some paperwork and admin to do which I need to make time for and it's difficult to find the time and enthusiasm to do this.

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