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Composting with Wormeries and Shredders

Wormeries and Shredders are for those who want to take composting a little more seriously

Wormeries use friendly worms to create nutrients from organic kitchen waste and the like. Worms are valuable in the garden anyway because they naturally move organic matter around in the soil and contribute to its decomposition, but a wormery is a specialised container system. This houses a concentrated colony of the worms and when they are fed with the best of your plant waste they will, in return, produce the finest compost and a liquid feed.

Shredders are a useful adjunct to producing large quantities of compost mainly from garden waste. They help to provide textured organic matter from twigs, prunings, hard stalks, etc which you would not normally compost; the shredder will speed up the composting process and increase its quality. As well as accelerating the breakdown into compost, shredding reduces the volume and so you can get more into the compost bins. It requires a bit of effort but the results are rewarding and satisfying.

Night Flower; you should smell it! Bee on Flower
Night Flower; you should smell it! Bee on Lavender in our garden
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Composting, Wormeries and Shredders Index
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What is a Wormery?
  A wormery is an easy, efficient system for converting organic kitchen waste into a bio-rich compost and liquid feed through the action of worms. Worms which convert the waste live in one of the internal chambers. See our main Reference page on Tips on Wormeries, Worm Composting and Vermiculture which contains dedicated information, hints and guidance.
There's also a brief section on Wormeries in our general Tips on Making Compost Reference page.
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Wormery Advice and Materials(!)
  Bucket of Worms are a family business specialising in breeding and growing Dendrobaena worms for composting. They provide information for worm composting and sell worms, the Worm Works wormery and accessories.
  Bull Electrical, Wormeries and Worms, two sizes of wormery are available, half-size for 1 or 2 people, full-size for 4+ people.
  Composting with Worms, by George Pilkington is described as the complete guide to domestic vermicomposting. It discusses how worms work, which worms to use; which bin is best, using the compost and what to do if things go wrong. Written in an easy to read style it shows how the individual can easily turn food and garden waste into a valuable, soil-enhancing compost.
    Evengreener sell a complete range of environmental products to help you go greener; wormeries, composters, water butts, home recycling and more. Unfortunately our personal experience is that their delivery times can be ridiculously long.
    Green Gardener sell and provide useful information on a range of different types of wormeries, including conventional, leaf and 'wormless wormeries'. They also sell products and give info on composting and gardening.
    Holdens Country Store have a section on Composting with Worms and tell you how to make your own wormery. They sell wormeries, worms, worm castings and accessories.
    Mr Worms South West Wormery sell a range of wormeries of different types and sizes, worms and accessories.
    Nicky's Nursery sell a range of wormeries, composting worms and composters; look under 'Sundries' on their site. Their speciality is seeds.
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Wormery Advice and Materials continued   Nurturing Nature's Waste Buster range, designed by a vermiculture (worm-growing) expert, is stated to be a proven system to dispose of household waste. Made of wood, they come in a range of sizes.
    OllieRecycles, tells you how you can make a wormery at home
    Original Organics sell a range of wormeries of different sizes and styles, from a junior wormery for a single person to large family sized ones, and even a Pet Poo Wormery. They sell worms (also composters), give advice and have a wormery forum.
    The Recycle Works have Waste Buster wormeries of different sizes, made from FCS wood and featuring special worm bedding.
    Wiggly Wigglers supply worms to companies, local authorities and thousands of individual customers. They also provide wormery advice and sell composters and a range of other products.
    Wormcity Wormeries is a family run business who make and sell their own range of wormeries as well as worms and accessories.
    Wormery Store is a family run business based in Gloucestershire. They sell The Worm Hut and Original Wormery as well as worms and accessories.
Wormeries and info are also available in some garden centres.
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Garden Shredders

Sadie the Collie will joyfully shred paper
Sadie shredding paper

  A garden shredder can turn your shrub prunings, garden plants, piles of leaves, flowers etc into instant mulch or provide a source for rapid composting. More powerful shredders will chip tree prunings and branches more than 3" (75 mm) thick. Some are even capable of grinding clods of earth and root balls into fine potting soil. Adding some shredded paper to the mix can help the process and improve the compost. This is easily done by hand (or other means: see the photo of our personal, organic, paper shredding machine on the left). In these days of increasing identity theft a cross-cut paper shredder is ideal for preparing a compost additive from discarded personal documents.
Using a garden shredder requires a little practice; it is important to get the right mix of green (wet) and brown (dry) material. Too much green and the outlet will clog, too much dry may create choking dust. Goggles and gloves are a must and a breathing gauze and ear defenders a maybe; oh and you'll need a pusher stick.
We used a small domestic shredder, one of the cheaper ones, but, with hindsight, decided that we should have spent more to get a bigger more powerful one and we chose a 'quiet' model which is much more effective. But don't be put off by these admissions; get it right and the job can be very satisfying.
    AL-KO Kober sell a range of garden shredders, including 'silent' shredders and dynamic micro shredders from 1.8 to 2.3kW, cutting up to 35-45 mm.
    Black and Decker advertise a powerful, quiet 2400w motor, 40mm cut and crush mechanism for efficient reduction of large branches.
    Bosch sell two ranges of garden shredder. Bosch Quiet Shredders give durability and high performance, having a spiral cutting system with automatic feed. Rapid Impact Blade Shredders have a laser-cut precision blade offering high cutting performance and faster speed.
    Draper Tools sell portable 2.4 and 2.5 kW garden shredders, which chop garden waste up to 40 mm dia. into small pieces for composting.
    Doppstadt manufacture mobile and stationary Waste and Wood Shredders, Composting and other Waste Reduction Machinery.
    Green Shredder Company Ltd supply a wide range of products to assist with green waste recycling and garden care needs such as compost bins, water butts, log splitters and saws, hedge cutting platforms and the well known and established Globe Shredders.
    The Mountfield quiet shredder has a 2.2kW motor driving a cut and crush action of the shredding blade, cutting up to 40cm, with a low noise level of 94db(A) and auto feed with reverse facility to help clear blockages.
    Recycle Works sell the Scheppach Biostar 2000 Shredder domestic compost shredder which has an angle cutter feeding system with worm gear which draws into the cutter the material to be shredded.
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Spanish Sparrow in cafe
Spanish Sparrow
By Brenda Shaw
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Page originated: 21 July, 2001  Last updated: 27 October, 2013
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