Making the mulch of our mowing! New bio-composter helps Hartpury grow green

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While Hartpury is well known for nurturing the potential of its students, the college is now producing its own raw materials to give the flower beds a boost!

A new bio-composter imported from Italy is turning Hartpury’s green materials into an effective home-grown fertiliser, saving money and the environment.

A purpose-built yard has been created on the Hartpury estate. All green waste goes into a holding bay before being put through the bio-composter. It is then moved from one bin to another every five weeks, being turned three times during the process to ensure good air flow and eventually produce an excellent mulch after 15 weeks.

This ‘compost’ is then used to provide extra nutrients to Hartpury’s flower beds, trees and hedgerows and prevent weeds growing.

“We were previously paying a contractor to remove our grass cuttings, leaves, branches and other clippings and trimmings and, given the size of our estate, that was proving pretty costly, as was buying in our own mulch and sending staff out in trucks to collect it,” said Matt Newman, Hartpury’s grounds manager.

“It seemed like such a waste and we wanted to look into ways we could recycle our green materials and produce our own compost.

“As well as dealing with our high volumes of grass cuttings in the summer and leaves in the autumn and winter, the bio-composter can also process most of our weeds and branches up to six inches in diameter, so it’s great when we’re pruning trees and shrubs.

“All the college Christmas trees went in there and we can even use it for cardboard recycling. We used to skip all that before and pay to have it taken away. Now it’s fantastic raw material for us and it’s better for the environment too, not only for the recycling element but the reduced transportation. Over time, it will improve our heavy clay soil too.”

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