Before you can grow food you need good soil, I suggest you build your own. First you need some good organic compost. Here are some links and videos to get you started turning your kitchen waste into quality organic compost.
Sheffield council compost bins http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/env/waste/gardenwaste/compostbins
Sheffield council compost tips http://www.sheffield.getcomposting.com/Pages/Composting_Tips.html
Sheffield Organic Food Initiative - http://www.organic-guru.co.uk/
Community Composting Network http://www.communitycompost.org/
Green Estate http://www.greenestate.org.uk/dcn
WRAP composting http://www.wrap.org.uk/composting/news_information/index.html
Recycle zone http://www.recyclezone.org.uk/az_worms.aspx
Waste Online http://www.wasteonline.org.uk/resources/InformationSheets/Compost.htm#Composter
The following are excerpts from my thesis.
There have been several initiatives by private citizens and community groups over the years to organise composting on a community scale. At one point funding was provided to set up an anaerobic composting system for Sheffield, but when the funding ended so did the project. Unfortunately, the council’s efforts in composting are meager: a small green bin programme, with no provision for the return of composted material, and reduced price composters is the extent of it. Many suspect that the waste contract with the Veolia incinerator is at the root of the problem.
There is a small amount of compost for sale through the City Farm, certainly not enough to supply a serious expansion of home-based food-growing. Several of my cohort mentioned being frustrated by the lack of dependable supply there. This leaves individuals to source compost at B&Q or other garden centers or to make their own. The composters available through the council contract with Veolia at a reduced rate are currently the best option as they solve two problems at once, reducing the waste stream and producing high quality soil improvement. The units are reasonably space efficient, but people need training in their use.
Other councils in the area also have not learned how to deal with composting.
“One sustainability official … had recently consulted with Bradford Planning about the potential for developing a localized ‘community’ composting system using the council’s park waste as one waste source. He was told that Composting was an industrial activity that would have to occur in the industrial part of the city. He commented that this made a mockery of the now widely embraced planning principle of mixed uses.” (Howe 2002)
Compost is a challenge on the individual level as well. Interviewee #6 said,
“I don’t have a car to get compost. That was why I got a composter; every day I throw away vegetable peelings. It got mushy at the bottom over winter but the stuff at the top had only been in there a couple of days.”
She gave up on it and mentioned that having free compost delivery would be a huge help. She had taken a bus to B&Q to have a bag of compost delivered which cost more than the bag of compost.