April 17th, 2008
If you’re keen to get some veges growing you’ll need some rich soil. A quick way to make some is by creating a hot compost. Within a month you’ll have living, organic compost to turn into your soil mix. It’s easy:
You’ll need to collect:
Pile of greens: grass clippings (haha), green leaf matter (eg. pumpkin vines, prunings, salad greens, banana leaves, onion weeds, patterson’s curse, soap bush etc – but it’s probably best to stay away from the cooch-like weeds and plants with heavy burrs like three-cornered jacks). If your pumpkins or melons are just about finished, it’s a good time to collect all of your materials.
Bale of straw: pea straw is available from Brenton Harris in Leigh Creek for about $8, or you can use hay from Packsaddle for about $13.
Pile of poo: pidgeon, chicken, goat, sheep, horse – there are plenty to choose from around town. Try to avoid horse poo if the horses have recently been wormed as it can inhibit the micro-organisms that grow in the compost.
Bundle of sticks: solid sticks, perhaps even one stake for poking holes.
A cover: an old blanket or some hessian, shadecloth etc.
A water source: put your compost heap in reach of a hose.
1. Put a layer of sticks on the ground to provide aeration.
2. Layer your straw, green and poo, fully soaking each layer as you go. Think lasagne! Tip: soak the poo in a wheelbarrow first. Aim for a big heap – at least 1m x 1m
3. With a stake or a stick, poke aeration holes into the sides of your heap.
4. Put your cover over the heap to stop it from drying out and losing heat. Hose it down.
5. Check after 24 hours – if you put your hand into the compost heap you should feel that is quite hot.
6. Keep the heap moist by hosing it each day.
7. Turn the pile after 7 days, 11 days after that, 2 weeks after that.
And that’s it! Rich, organic compost for your fruit trees and vege gardens! For new garden beds, mix it with soil – you can get a trailer load from Brenton Harris for $35.