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Our Planet

by Michael Ford last modified 16 Jul, 2021 05:46 PM

As we seek to make changes to our lives to reduce our impact on the planet - and start to give back as part of Net Zero - parishes are sharing some great ideas.

In the Holy Trinity Church Dilton Marsh with All Saints Brokerwood Magazine, Sonja Harris shares her thoughts on the importance of building compost heaps. She writes:

“Exquisite the rose on her way to compost, fertile the compost on its way to rose, wheeling my barrow of dung, impermanence greets me in beauty”
Plum Village, France

Here’s a little quiz for you - where might you find slow worms, frogs, newts, worms and maybe even a grass snake? In a compost heap! Yes, all these creatures could be found in your compost heap and if you don’t have one yet, they aren’t difficult to make.

Members of the Eco Church project at Holy Trinity Church have been building compost heaps in the churchyard, above, to make use of leftover organic matter and other items which will, once rotted, feed the soil.

So, how do you create a heap? You can buy a ready-made container, usually made of sturdy plastic or wood, or build your own from pallets. The key thing is to set it directly on the soil so the insects and creatures can move in and out easily. The RSPB website has some really good instructions on how to build your own container [here].

And what goes into it? Quite an extensive list of things: grass clippings, torn up cardboard, vegetable and fruit peelings, shredded paper, small twigs, weeds, green material from the garden. But please don’t include meat, cooked food or dairy products, or you will attract rats.

Ideally you want to add the items in layers – the green bits followed by the brown bits - so that you get a nice mix of nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich materials. And if possible, cut up or shred the materials as you add them. This helps them rot down quicker, creating that warm, cosy environment that the creatures mentioned above will love.

If the heap looks dry, try watering it and keep a lid on it or use a piece of old carpet on the top to keep the heat in. A good compost heap does heat up!

And, after it’s all rotted down in about a year, hopefully you will have some wonderful food for your plants. Roses adore it; in fact, most of your garden plants will benefit from having a nice thick layer placed around their base. You will almost be able to hear them thanking you for the goodness you are putting back into the soil. And, most definitely, you won’t have enough compost, so you will start to plan where you can create another heap!

Please go and look at the compost heaps in Holy Trinity churchyard, as well as the bug hotel, which even contains a pair of my old boots, stuffed with bedding in the hope ‘someone’ will nest in them.

Date for your diary: Eco Church day on Saturday, August 7th in the churchyard.

Visit the Dilton Marsh web page here.

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