Darren, his partner and their two-year-old live in a rental property in Birkenhead. He has worked with the landlords to set up an urban garden with full composting facilities that is nothing short of amazing. In fact they even process some of the food waste from a nearby café. And whilst Darren’s natural talents for gardening and knowledge of composting may be much greater than mine or yours, he’s confident that anyone in a rental property can compost: it’s just a question of starting small with portable systems that you can take with you if you move.

He has learnt from experience to talk to his landlords, explain what he is doing and why, and get them on-side. His advice is to find out what you can about composting: go on a course, read books, talk to people, and then discuss with your landlord before you do it. Start small and consider using a worm farm or Bokashi bin if it suits your needs.

Finding the correct balance of green and brown (nitrogen and carbon) materials can be a challenge in urban areas, so Darren talked to his neighbours and one now brings the leaves he has collected up for the compost. It creates opportunities to connect with other people who live near you says Darren, for example, spotting an overgrown lawn nearby, knocking on the door and offering to cut it in exchange for using the lawn clippings in the compost. They also get untreated sawdust and shavings from a furniture restorer up the road, and other neighbours in the past have looked after their chickens from time to time in exchange for eggs.

Both Darren and his partner work and have busy lives, so he says it’s important not to make composting a chore. He finds that just taking five minutes to do it each day keeps it manageable.

QUOTE “If it gets a bit smelly, don’t panic and don’t give up – with the right mix of materials the biology will kick in pretty quickly and will fix the problem within a few days”


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