Monday, 8 February 2010

The Rubbish Diet Challenge: Week 5, Dig for victory

Tomato seedlings on the windowsill in 2009

Can you believe we're now at Week 5 of the Rubbish Diet challenge. How time flies. It doesn't seem that long ago, since I was challenging you to your first weigh-in. I hope all is going well with your efforts to slim your bin and that you're enjoying the mini-challenges.

This week I hope to inspire you to make further inroads into your household waste by doing some extra things around the garden. That is if you happen to be blessed with a small patch to call your own. Even if you don't have a garden, you can still join in if you've only got a windowsill going spare around your home.

This week's guide will get you thinking about how you can reduce waste whilst gardening and how you can use your garden to reduce waste too, helping you to find ways to avoid packaging and divert your kitchen scraps away from the rubbish bin. There are lots of ideas to encourage you to grow your own and includes a mini-guide to composting as well as an introduction to keeping chickens for those who fancy taking their self-sufficiency a little bit further.

So there should be something for everyone this week and even if you're not that much of a keen gardener, I hope you'll get in the spirit and consider planting up at least one small container of your favourite herb, vegetable or fruit-bearing plant.

And if you want to be inspired to compost a bit more, don't just take my word for how easy it is. I've gathered a few examples that have been sent in over the last few months from some of my blogging and Twitter friends, both old and new.

For example, here's how Susanna at A Modern Mother collects her kitchen peelings, in a convenient caddy for transferring to her compost bin in the garden. She's blogged about her composting experiences to help share the knowledge over at

And here's an example of how the professionals do it too, thanks to expert gardener Claire Brown from PlantPassion, who saw my plea for photos last year via her Twitter account @PlantPassion. The photo on the left shows the contents from a wooden compost bin, revealing much better quality compost than I make.

Claire sent an example of her plastic dalek composter and new tumbler as well. No doubt, this set up will have some readers browsing with envy.

Claire also sent me a link to a fabulous blogpost she's written about compost bins and rats and includes useful advice, whether you are a novice composter or have been at it for some time. Visit :

Fellow tweeter and blog reader @MrsBYork sent in a photo of York Rotters' demonstration bin, showing which types of items can go in it. To see a larger version, just click on the photo.

The photo to the right shows Mrs B's compost set up at home, which shows you don't really need much space at all.

Sarah Barnard, author, blogger and Twitter user @ethicstrading, has a couple of dalek type bins and revealed how she managed to get one of them free from her local Frecycle Group. As she says, not bad for a freebie eh! Too right, especially as I had to pay around £20 for mine, which is exactly the same as Sarah's.

Of course if you've got enough land you don't even need to worry about having a container to put it in. You can simply create your own compost heap in a suitable spot that takes your fancy.

So I really don't think I could finish today's introduction to this week's online guide without showing you the king of domestic compost heaps, brought to my attention by fellow Twitter user and composter @MartinCampbell2. Here it is in all its woodland glory. I can only dream of such space and consider it a rather spectacular specimen.

Now it's all very well composting, but eventually you also need to do something with it. Here's an example of what blogger AllGrownUp does with her compost, proving that you don't even need a huge veg patch to justify going to the trouble. In her blogpost she describes what it's like to "harvest" your compost for the very first time and how it's great to have free stuff made from what would otherwise be rubbish.

And if you're looking for even more examples of composting, Mrs Green at MyZeroWaste wrote a guide for beginners, which she published on her blog last week:

So with enthusiasm like that, I hope we've all been able to inspire you to get out into whatever space you have and start digging for victory in your war against waste.

Of course you may just fancy putting your feet up until it gets a bit warmer and I can't say I blame you. So let's take advantage with a nice cuppa and grab a moment to read more about this week's Rubbish Diet challenge. You'll find everything you need now online at:

And when you're finished do go and see how other bloggers are getting on with their own challenges. Share some support and say hi to the following waste watchers: Carol at New Mummy Tips; Pippa at A Mother's Ramblings and Tepary at Grow Family Grow. So far, it looks like they're doing brilliantly. Maybe very soon I'll mention those three little words "Zero Waste Week". Well I might as well start hinting now and it's not as scary as it sounds.

Thanks to everyone who's sent photos and links. It really is appreciated. It's always useful to have a whole range of real-life examples that can be shared with others.



A Modern Moher said...

That tumbler looks very cool. I think I have compost envy.


Me too :-D I'd love one of those.

growfamilygrow said...

Almost Mrs. Average, Thanks for the mention. I'm actually in the UK rather than the US right now. Things have been a little crazy recently and I've not fallen off the wagon, but it has been difficult. I'm hoping things will quieten down soon and I can secure my seat on the Rubbish Diet wagon when I return. I'll take pictures of our compost for you, I know you'd like that. Oh, and you should see the chicks. They're getting big. All nine of them. We have to get the coop up and running so that we can transfer them out there in the next few weeks and then, then my food waste will be no more, wahoooo!


Hi GFG - Wow what a busy life you've got at the mo. I can't wait to see how things are going. And how exciting about the little chicks. Nine eh, now that's a decent-sized brood. :-)

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