I've been putting my Master Composter knowledge to good use recently with a visit to Sir John Leman High School in Beccles, Suffolk - where I extolled the virtues of composting in schools to 15 interested (at least I think they were interested!) teachers.

My visit was all part of an out-of-school-hours initiative set up by Alison Findlay of the RHS and part organised by Allison Copeman, the Enterprise Manager at Sir John Leman High School. The meetings are designed to help teachers who share an interest in gardening and wish to establish a productive garden or patch at their own school and this particular shin-dig was held in the very impressive school garden at John Leman.


Explained Allison; "It is really good to have these twilight sessions to meet staff from other schools who share my interest and passion for getting a garden set up in schools. Often, it gives us a chance to share ideas/problems/good practice etc."

As well as explaining how a school is likely to have an almost unlimited supply of both green (grass clippings from the grounds, fruit and vegetable waste from the kitchens for starters) and brown (paper, cardboard, pencil shavings etc) material, I explained the financial benefits to the school of producing their own compost (school purse strings are normally pulled tight anyway, but an especially pertinent point in the current economic climate) and the problems faced with lack of available landfill sites and the effect on the environment of methane - produced when organic matter is buried.

A very popular section of my talk was the 'Virtual Compost Bin', developed by Garden Organic and used in the Master Composter course. Participants have to categorize different materials which may - or shouldn't - end up in a compost heap and it's a great way of demonstrating the vast selection of ingredients suitable for composting.

So it's thanks to both the Al(l)ison's - Findlay and Copeman - and David Hawkyard (the Norfolk Master Composter Scheme Coordinator)for their help, and hopefully a few school gardens on the Norfolk/Sugffolk border will be compost self-sufficient in the very near future, and we'll all be another step closer to closing the recycling loop!

If you'd like further information on the Master Composter scheme, the 'twilight' sessions held for schools in the north Suffolk area or would like me to visit a school and give a talk, just give me a shout -martin@harrod.uk.com