Gardening: cuttings

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The Independent Online
"I live in a small terraced house, with only a narrow concrete back yard," writes John Richards of Boston, Lincolnshire. "I feel I throw away too much valuable waste - leaves, peelings, eggshells. Do you know of a workable compost bin to fit into my tiny yard? Maximum size about 18in square. I can't knock stakes through the concrete, so the bin must be self-contained."

Gill Moore, whose Hackney roof garden I wrote about in the summer (29 June), was similarly short of space. She made compost successfully using worms in a small fibre dustbin. The worms, brandlings from a fishing tackle shop, eat all kinds of kitchen scraps. Every so often Ms Moore tips the wormery out on to a plastic sheet, shovels the worms back into the bin with a fresh supply of scraps, and bags up the compost. Buy this kit from the Organic Gardening Catalogue, Coombelands House, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 1HY (01932 820958), price pounds 42.70. There is also a model in plastic with a tap at the bottom to draw off liquid to use as a plant feed, pounds 48.90.

Worms work best on small, regular bits of waste, so would suit Mr Richards better than a standard heap, which heats up most efficiently with large amounts all at once.