Envirogrind Compost - Black Gold from Killybegs

Envirogrind Compost - Black Gold from Killybegs

Adding compost to the garden with a wheelbarrow - header image

As we all know growing vegetables takes a lot out of a garden, because when we remove our nutritious crops we remove nutrition from the soil. This has to be given back. The really good stuff in the soil is composted organic matter which provides food for your plants, the worms and all the little micro organisms that live in your soil. The microbial life in your soil breaks down nutrients and feeds it to the hungry roots of your plants. It is a wonderful cycle and the corner stone of life on Earth. 

The vegetable gardener cannot produce enough of their own compost to keep up nutrient levels in the garden. If you think about it all you're giving back is the waste material; the bulk of the produce is eaten by you and your family and thus doesn't return to the garden. So, we need to substitute in the form of farmyard manure or compost.

Digger adding material to a hot composting pile

Envirogrind is made in Donegal from food waste including fruit and vegetable peelings, cooked food waste and fish and shellfish waste from the fish processing industry in Killybegs. This material is mixed with green waste, including grass and hedge clippings and waste wood chip from forestry, to make a dark nutrient rich and well balanced compost.

The secret to this large scale composting process is the use of composting bays with a slatted base through which air is pumped. Air is the key ingredient in hot and fast composting, as the bacteria who are doing all the work need oxygen to thrive. The material is mixed by a loader as pictured above.

As is the case with most gardeners, we all have a compost heap of some kind which supplies a similar material to feed the soil in our beds. The fact remains however that - because the waste from the food we eat goes down the sewerage system rather than into the compost heap - there will always be a nutrient deficit. It is not a closed loop system.

To make up for this deficit, we need to add further nutrients in the form of fertiliser, whether it's natural or artificial, fast release or slow release. Because bulky slow-release material like compost or manure feed the life in the soil (and after they have broken down, actually build soil themselves) they are by far the better option.

Adding compost to the vegetable garden

Envirogrind is the best form of compost we have found in Ireland. It has all the nutrients the garden needs and is a perfectly balanced, sustainable product. Unlike other composts it contains a high percentage of composted fish waste. This adds a whole host of amino acids, vitamins and macro and micro nutrients important for healthy growth. 

What's in it?
The percentages of composted materials are: Food 40% - Fish 20% and green 40%. It goes through a 14 week process in a closed Vessel composting facility. It naturally reaches a temperature of 70 degrees, which kills off pathogens and weed seeds.

Bags of envirogrind compost

Envirogrind Compost & Soil Improver - 60L bags

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What's So Great about Envirogrind Compost?

  • It's a very well balanced product with large amounts of potassium and potash, as well as slow-release nitrogen. 
  • It won't burn plant roots once mixed with topsoil, and will release nutrients over a number of months. 
  • We recommend using it as a mulch or soil improver. It's best worked into the surface of the soil rather than dug in completely.
  • It is completely weed free. Fresh manure can contain weeds like thistle and scutch grass, or pests like flat worm or leatherjackets. Envirogrind is totally clear of any of these.
  • It greatly increases crop yield. We added one bucket to a square metre of soil and left another without. The untreated metre gave us 2.5kg of potatoes, while the envirogrind metre gave us 5kg. Maths wasn't my forte at school but even I can see that's double the yield.
  • It is a natural product which recycles food and plant waste to turn it into a sustainable, peat free compost product.

A bag of bulk compost

The application rate for a reasonably fertile garden soil is to add a layer of approximately 5cm deep to the soil surface. For an average vegetable garden, this will be quite a bit of material - which is why our bulk 850 litre bags are usually the best option. We don't recommend digging the compost in, as we don't want to break up the soil structure. Simply add it to the soil surface.

Note: Envirogrind is intended to be mixed with existing topsoil or used as a mulch to add nutrients to your garden soil; it is not suitable to be used on its own as a container growing mix.