Francis Ni Chinnéide lives at the western edge of the Dingle Peninsula in Dún Chaoin over looking the Blasket Islands. She is a keen gardener and has been composting her garden and food waste for several years in her garden.
Why do you Compost?
To reduce the household waste going to landfill site and to add minerals to the soil in my garden.
What type of composter have you?
A 330ltr Black plastic composter. I also put material in a trench where I grow peas and beans
What materials do you put in the composter?
All fruit and vegetable leftovers. Leaves and other vegetation that grow around the garden, newspapers torn into strips and grass cuttings.
What is the ratio of food and garden waste you put into the composter?
75% : 25%
Where is the composter located in your garden?
It is located near the entrance to the garden, some distance from the house.
Can you give a little information on your location etc?
We live in the courtryside, near the Atlantic coast, with a ¼ acre vegetable plot which has little protection from the wind. We get some protection from the fuchsia hedge.
How many people live fulltime in the house?Do you cook at home each day or eat out?
There are two adults in the house and we cook and eat at home every day.
Have you had problems with your composting system?
Not really, some years the compost is of better quality than others.
Have you had problems with rodents? If so how did you overcome the difficulty?
Yes, we have had rats. Initially we thought the cats would be sufficient but eventually we resorted to rat poison. If there is any opening, regardless of how small, they will manage to get in
What do you do with grass cuttings?
We do not have a lawn but occasionally during the summer one of our neighbours puts his grass cuttings in our composter to heat up the process. We also put some of the cuttings under the fruit bushes.
What about evergreen material?
We let all the evergreen material die away and we then burn it in the wood burning stove. We then put the ashes into the composter or directly onto the vegetable plot.
Do you have any problems with flies?
We don’t have a problem as the composter is located a good distance from the house
When, and for what purpose, do you use your finished compost?
We use it in the spring as a fertiliser on the potato beds with seaweed.
Do you have any other measures for managing household waste?
We give the birds any left over bread and cooking fat. The cats will also eat some of the leftover food waste.
What are your top tips for people starting a home composting system?
Have a look at a composting system already up and running in the neighbourhood. It is also important to understand the balance required between green and brown material. (Carbon and Nitrogen)
Tips for people to reduce waste?
Avoid over-packaged goods. Complain about over-packaging. Repair.