For some time now, we have been feeding our food composter with left over fruit and vegetables from the University’s Food Court. Earlier this summer, the first batch of compost was declared ready to use. The bin was cracked open with great ceremony, and the precious result of our labours was extracted.
A good amount of it was used to create a new flower bed in the Johnson Wellbeing Garden. Under the guidance of Jo Barker, a local permaculture specialist, the bed was created using layers of compost, cardboard, and woodchip. This was to be left to settle over the summer before being planted up in the autumn, which is, of course, now upon us. I returned from my summer break to check on the garden, and was amazed to find a huge tangle of weeds all over the new bed!
Not having time to tackle it immediately, I left and plotted the downfall of this unwanted growth…
A few days later, I returned to the scene. Gloves, trowel, and wheelbarrow ready, I prepared myself for what promised to be a real battle. The roots on these weeds were going to be really challenging, surely! I stepped up, grabbing the first plant, then something caught my eye.
The answer is simple, really. Uneaten tomatoes must have gone into the composter, and the seeds must have survived the composting process. When we spread the compost, we were creating the perfect tomato plantation!
So now I wait, watching to see if we can get a crop of tomatoes! A batch of green tomato chutney must surely be possible, at the very least!
by John Hills, Sustainability Projects Officer