At Ballymaloe Cookery School, Organic Farm & Gardens we are fully committed to the recycling of food waste, and we strive to reduce and reuse wherever possible. A significant amount of food scraps are generated every day at our busy cookery school during the morning's cooking and at lunch. From their very first day on either our 12 Week Certificate or our short courses, students learn the importance of separating out meat and vegetables scraps, with the vegetable matter going to the Hen's Bucket. Hens love food scraps, and including these in their diet greatly contributes to the flavour of their eggs!
The organic compost we use here at the school includes seaweed, garden weeds and vegetable scraps from our kitchens. The compost area on our farm is sizeable. and the compost is turned regularly with a front-loader in order to aerate it, enabling the natural bacteria to break it down. Great heat is generated by this process, and it is the terrific temperatures which helps to destroy the garden weeds and their seeds. After approximately 6 months of turning and cooling, the compost becomes Humus as it becomes a living thing once again, teeming with bacteria, fungi and tiny insects. The addition of this humus to our soil guarantees the necessary biodiversity to help plants and vegetables build resistance to disease. It takes 9 months to one year for good quality compost to be ready for use.
Did You Know This?
Just a 1% increase of humus in soil locks in 125,000 litres of water into the ground. This means:
- Less irrigation
- Less run-off
- Plants are able to better survive drought
- Carbon is retained in the soil
- It is environmentally friendly!
Here's a fantastic TED Talk on Humus: the essential ingredient