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Gardening. Compost

 
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pabloc
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:22 am    Post subject: Gardening. Compost

Hi fellas,

I think I mentioned around here that besides birds I have some interest in gardening, especially I find fascinating the aromatic plants/herbs. In fact for some reason I feel that attraction towards the herbs since I was a kid.

As I know some of the guys here are avid gardeners... I wated to ask, especially Steps, he always has interesting views about this kind of stuff.

Actually I wanted to ask about compostage. I would like to have a source of natural fertilizer for my plants, and I have been reading around.
There seems to be a rage for earthworm humus, but then as always everyone has his own method.
Some people has 3-4 different buckets, in one they throw the raw material and let it mature for several weeks, then feed it to the earthworms, etc...

I have been reading around and find it too complicated.
Is there any simpler way to transform organic leftovers and my birds droppings into fertilizer?

Thanks! / Pablo

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Peter
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:13 am    Post subject:

I use a set up like below. Every year(I'm lazy) I scoop the content of the first bin in the second and that from the second into the third. You don't need to add earthworms. They come in naturally. Also wood louse and other processable insects/micro organisms.



Some other possibilities


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Steptoe
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:09 am    Post subject:

OK long post
We have extentive lawns (no weeds) have grown most of our own veggies formany yrs..no weeds

AQ vegie patch should be about 2.8 m wide...the length depends on how many are in the house hold...15 m will grow all the veggies for a household of 2 adults and 3 children.
But not Spuds onions or carrots ..they are cheap and take too long to mature.
To start....kill the weeds off with glycosulphate, turn over (dig and break up), wait 3 weeks and kill off the re growth.
When digging the garden from now on, there is no need to turn over large areas (work) using a small 'ladies' spade, turn over 1 row, and break up...I mean what is the sence of turning over between rows..you are going to walk on it anyway...and any rain tends to run into the turned area around the plants.
Rows are close, between 15" and 30 : depending on what is planted
The only thing we plant from seed is dwarf green and butter beans,, these are planted about 6" apart in 2 rows next to each other...1 row every 4 to 6 weeks thru the season

capsium, letuce, cali, broccolli, beetroot, silver beet, cabbage, bokchoy etc all plat 10 to 12" apart single row so you are planting approx 6 to 8 plants
On the nearest excess side of the garden..at the end of each row one has a small patch of each herb 10"x 10" ..oregmo, pastley, sage , spring, galic oinions, tyme etc...somwe 1 patch will do with another coming on as it finishes, others are perpetual.

Planting....Rowe turned over broken up and lightly raked...about 1" of compost is spread on top (This brings the worms to the surface, aeraiting soils, acts as multch.) and plants planed in a hole with roots hanging down..do not plant with bent roots.
If dont have a compost bin...dig a row..trench about 7 or 9" deep, put your scrapes in add a little lime ( a bit of Blood and bone is good to.) and cover over as you go.
Tomatos....early in the season buy one expensive plant....tomatos I plant next to a fence, put a nail in the fence about 6" high, with a string hanging a little loose down then loosely tied around the plant when it gets a good stem...about the time the laterals are broken off...
The laterals, when get to about 4 or 5" snap off and plant as cuttings about 15" away...this is a free plant, and will mature after the 1st giving longer cropping season...maybe use 4 or 5 laterals over 4 or 5 weeks.

veggies where u eat the leaves...lots of nitrogen.
veggies where u eat the fruit, seed pods (they need to flower) heaps of phosphours

Other fertilizer
Chook poo...good for flower veg....frsh burns roots and stinks...add a good dose of lime to kil smell and break down...dig this in shallow..1/2 a spade.
Chook poo aged...use as mulch (above) and pull away from when planting into it.
Horse cow poo... the best stuff is dried or semi dried pads put this in the garden and that means work...weeds
Throw in a 1/2 plastic 200L drum, fill with water, cover...bucket out and water...a 10L bucket down each row every week or so...keep drum topped up
Goat /sheep poo, doesnt have a lot of weed, use in with the cow poo drum or dig in when preparing a row to plant.
Leaf multch...even leaves, spred over garden, between rows around plants as a multch.
Compainion planting..yep read up on that what you plant next to each other does matter
Cycling crops/rows...and this matters..if you get out of synic, thats fine, just cycle each row iin the right order of type of plant as best you can....this you will realy notice after the 2nd and 4rd seasons..bumper crops or bloody poor cropping.
Weeding...try to desturb the soil /multch around plants as much as possible, after a couple yrs weeds will be near none exist IF you mow your lwan around the garden so as to sray clippings away from it or use the catcher...and dont let weeds in the lawn flower.
Weeding I use gylocsuphate....a small jar and a long artists paint brush...

Watering..people over water and in some places water is expensive.
Know the square meter of the area you need to water.
1mm of rain is 1L of water over 1m x1m tep thats not much is it
The soil should not dry out....when u puy your finger in the soil as far as it goes pull it out it should feel cold.
Where we live through the summer mnths our garden because of the type of soil etc it needs 12mm of rain per week...we dont get much rain.
I have a rain gauge..a jar will do...once a week see how much water is in the jar....eg 3mm you need another 9mm of 'rain'
The planted area is say 2.5 m x 6m= 15sqm
1mm is 1L per sq m
25L = 25sqm
you 'need' 9mm rain thats 135L stuff all.
Water in the evening...I dont know how the weather works in your part of the world, but come spring time thru to end autumn, over 85% of our rain is at night and another great prortion of that is late afternon and eveining, stuff all falls during the day (althu it may seem so)...nature takes care of its self.
Like our avairies, watering I can spend my time doing something far more interesting..and its a commitment...so I have elcheapo 13mm polyproplene lengths with little sprinlers pluged into it....these connect to a 'manifold down the side of the garden...this connects to the garen hose, which connects to the outside tap with a battery operated water meter to turn on automatically
Water meters..some measure the volume, others turn on for a period of time...cheaper...find out how much water goes thru in X time...
And set the time when the dishwasher isnt turned on or someones shower time.

Freezing veggies...
beans , cali , broccolli, what is not used fresh (and since you dont use a lotof chemicals) cut into portions, place on a tray in the freezer, once frozen, put in freezer bags...nope we have never boiled or blanched before freezing...that makes the veggies go yuk.
This will see u thru the winter, while winter crops are growing)
What is left over when the new spring crops come in , give away to your neighbours.....after a while you will know how much you need to see thru the winter...you can then start to give fresh veggies to the neighbours.
They may start a compost bin for their scraps that u use as multch in the garden....builds good communities.

Last notes here:
I costed out over 2 yrs the amount of time, cost of everything down to the last seed...going from ave supermarket prices from that period...
When I walk out thinking , "bugga got to get the next row of beans planted"
I then think "OK 30 mins to dig over plant trow som nulch over and touch up the weeds...my labour works out to $NZ88 /hr tax free Im in effect 'earning'..."

A veggie garden doesnt save you money..
saving is when you earn and put what is left over in the money box
What a veggie garden does is alowes one to have more dispoable income left over as if you have had a huge pay rise or bonus.
A veggie garden you earn at a massive hourly rate.

Time, once established after the 1st month....overall on ave including cropping, abiut 15 to 20 mins per week...and the longest time about 45 mins about 3 times a yr.

Worm fatrms..yep they work..and also means work...something I can better spend my time doing

You eat fresh veggies, and they tend to be expensive veggies which also tend to be those high in nutrition...you have better health, atitudes and save on short and long term medical bills..This I have not costed in above.

Our 3 children over a period of 2 yrs, had 3 days off school....thats for ALL of them in total... My wife and I dont get sick...oh get the flu every 3 to 5 yrs, but I think its really a bad cold cause we are not used to getting sick signlol

Bottom line, reading the above, one would have to be a real idiot not to have a veggie garden if they have a min area 2.5m x 5m in a sunny spot.

For the 1st yr use commerial ferlizer....the blood and bone , multch, poo etc will not have been converted into a form the plants can use in the 1st yr
Beeing greenie is all good ...once established, till then if u want good crops use the comerical stuff quite liberally.
The greenies dont tell you that part in their books.

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pabloc
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Joined: Sep 26, 2007
Posts: 988

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:16 am    Post subject:

Hi Peter,

thx for the good advice.
I had a feeling there should be a simple method.

2 questions for clarification...
You let it mature for 1 or 2 years before using it?
Do you cover it at all with plastic or a wooden table to protect it from rain?

Thanks for your help!

regards / Pablo


EDIT (to avoid double posting):

Steps thx for good advice.

Weeds are really invasive but then on the other side it worries me about using sulphate.
Isn't it harmful for the other plants/crops?

For now I will start with a few herbs in pots and a small corner in my grandpa's orchard.
About fruit and greens honestly my mum is working at a fruit shop so in fact we have good stuff at home for free. Quite often you have the odd stuff like salads and stuff that are a few days to go off, those can't be sold anymore but they are still good to eat.
Same with the odd apple that falls to the floor and has a small bruise, etc...
And it's quality stuff. In fact when I'm away from home I have a hard time eating fruit and stuff because it's not the same as mum brings home signlol

Yes... spuds are a hell of work, and then many times you don't harvest that much, and sometimes they don't even taste very well. And even when they are good, in my opinion they aren't that much different to those bought in the shop. Corn takes also a lot of space and a long time to grow.
Tomatoes, cabbage, etc... it's another story.
Besides you can grow the varieties you really like.

Now there is a bit of fashion also over here about organics and ecologic stuff, but it's bloody expensive. I think if you live in a house it's much cheaper to grow a couple of greens yourself. The problem is some people is too lazy, some other people don't know about it, and others when they try they are regarded as stupid.
Indeed it takes time but I think it's better to be sprouting seed and planting stuff than watching TV or spending time in front of the computer. Much healthier.
And as you say if you work out the economics it's a lot of money you are saving.

Also having 2-3 free range pullets it's a good way to recycle leftovers. Pigs, sheep, etc... are lots of work, smell and they do eat.
Besides around here there are random people that still grow animals in a natural fashion and it's somehow easy to buy 1/2 calf or a sheep and freeze it.

Had this discussion with a friend not long ago. She said that she prefered an apartment because a house is soooooo muuuuuuch work, and it's soooo cold in winter, etc... signlol
Been living for 20+ years in an apartment spending holidays at my grandpa's... give me a house in the outskirts anytime.

Cheers/ Pablo

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Peter
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:42 am    Post subject:

pabloc wrote:


2 questions for clarification...
You let it mature for 1 or 2 years before using it?
Do you cover it at all with plastic or a wooden table to protect it from rain?


After 1 year you should have usable compost. You can sieve it like in the pic to separate uncomposted material.
I don't cover the bin. Rule of thumb is to work with layer. Start with a layer of branches. Then a layer of soft material like grass, weed etc. Then again a layer of branches. Otherwise all the material will stick together.

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pabloc
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:06 am    Post subject:

Hi Peter,

thanks for the tips.

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Steptoe
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:02 am    Post subject:

Quote:
Weeds are really invasive but then on the other side it worries me about using sulphate.
Isn't it harmful for the other plants/crops?

Yeah if you spray it on the crops...I use an artist brush and a small plastic container, about 70ml made up at aroud 75%. And even then only use less than 1/4 of that.

When I had my compost bins, I just started filling one, throw a bit of lime and soil in every now and then....when got full, forked over into the other side which turned it over and aireated.
Then when the 2nd bin got full, started using the 1st...a mulch (post above)
Never bothered taking out sticks etc unless they where really big.

Most of the big things where teaspoons, potato peelers, milk bottle caps Whistle

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