Monday, May 16, 2016

Lazy composting

I love the idea of composting - of something for nothing - turning what I'd throw away into something my garden desperately needs. But my compost heap doesn't work that well, the problem is too many palm fronds, I don't have the time or energy to cut them up small so they go on the pile in big chunks and take a long time to break down. I thought about setting up a worm farm for my kitchen scraps but even that seemed too much effort.

I saw article in Pip (australian permaculture magazine) at the library, about worm farms. Their simplest suggestion was to create one directly in the soil using a poly pipe with holes drilled into it so the worms could get in and out.

I've adapted this idea using old plant pots with extra holes cut into the bottom half. I didn't buy in any worms, I figure there are worms in the garden and they'll find the kitchen scraps I'm adding to the pot. I've set up 3 of these around my garden and top them up with kitchen scraps most weekends, when I have time to cut things up into small bits and pick out the onion skins and citrus that worms don't like. The rest of the week I throw everything on my big heap as normal. It seems to be working well and breaks down quickly into the soil. We'll see if there's any improvement to the pineapples this year, last year they were tiny (not much bigger than an orange) that was one of the things that prompted me to try to do something, anything to improve my soil!

I got these two gardening books out of the library last week and have really enjoyed 'My tiny veg plot' by Lia Leendertz. It's more of an inspiring book than a how to book, with lovely photos. I was excited to discover there's a thing called a keyhole garden, a round raised bed with a section cut in to access a compost basket in the middle of the bed. Which is the same kind of idea as my inground compost pots.

The weather has cooled down at last and I've planted some tomato seedlings and a parsley plant. I've also been re-potting the things that survived the wet season, lemon grass, thai basil, sweet leaf and mint.

Now to sit down with a cuppa tea and start reading the Stephanie Alexander gardening book!

tomatoes just in, very late this year

pineapple and herb pots in the front yard, inground compost bottom left!

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