The Lakehouse and AHS Gardeners

Many months ago, the AHS were approached by Councillor Blackman to garden at the junction of Blake Hall Road/ Blake Hall Crescent / Belgrave Road, on the Lakehouse Estate.

The area, adjacent to the bus stop was regularly being dug up by Thames Water to create a drainage system. The houses next to the site were constantly being flooded.

I went about rounding up a group of volunteers from the Lakehouse Estate to garden the plot. I received a response from 18 people who were interesting in helping.

After much negotiation and paperwork the plot was handed over to us by Simon Stodel, Neighbourhood Engagement and Education Officer of the London Borough of Redbridge.

On Saturday 20 April, thirteen volunteers met at the site. We prepared the plot, sowed the seeds, provided by the LBR and planted a variety of plants brought along by the volunteers.

All in all, a successful morning’s work.

Rosemarie Coffey, Lakehouse Estate and AHS Gardeners.

All you need to know about composting

Elaine Fieldhouse & Barry Reeves, both local gardeners, gave a fascinating talk at April’s AHS meeting about compost.  Elaine who has  a wonderful garden backing on to an allotment in Plaistow has 22 compost bins including 4 tumblers.  She explained  that the material in each compost takes about 6 to 8 months to break down.  Elaine creates wet compost with some plants – adding water to plants to make a slurry then she adds it to her compost bin.  She told us that rhubarb leaves break down quickly; that she packages kitchen waste adding water to make it more moist and she adds cardboard to wet compost .  Dry cardboard needs to be dampened. She doesn’t add any cooked food.  The advantage of home grown compost over bought compost is that its free and you know what goes into it.  Asked about adding weeds to compost bins she explained that weeds don’t come back if they are well rotted.  Elaine uses her home grown compost to mulch her garden and allotment carried out in October/November and then February.
Barry told us about using a Hot Compost bin.  The advantage of a Hot Bin is that it will fit into a small garden.  He told us to stick to the instructions provided with the bin – a starter bottle of liquid is provided at the beginning as well as wood chips it is important to add wood chips and shredded paper and cardboard to keep the contents of the bin aerated. The bin is provided with a kind of stirrer with which one can stir the contents. The contents of the bin get very hot as the bin is covered with a sort of polystyrene to heat the contents – the temperature gauge on the lid shows the temperature of the contents. When you open the hot bin you can see the steam coming from it. You can add cooked food to a Hot Bin as well as green garden waste but better to chop it up so that it breaks down quicker.  The contents of the bin should never be solid and the heat is enough to kill weeds.  At the bottom of the bin there is a blue tap from which you can drain liquid plant food.  Barry told us that he gets about 5 buckets of compost after 2 months – the compost is of great quality and doesn’t smell.

April Meeting – All you need to know about Composting.


This month we welcome Elaine Fieldhouse and Barry Reeves who will each present an illustrated talk about compost.

Elaine has spoken to us a number of times and is the proud owner of a multitude of successful compost bins. She will bring a bucket of her compost for us to explore!

Barry will tell us all about Hot Bins! He is very knowledgeable about hot composting and we are very lucky that he is happy to share his knowledge with us.

On Tuesday 9th April 2024

At Aldersbrook Bowls Club E12 5DY

Doors open 7pm for a 7:30pm start

Free for members. and £5 for guests