Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Check this link to a free e version of a 1940s book written by Maye E Bruce. Astonishing results in the production of humus from a Biodynamic-like compost activator. Just started on it so cannot comment, but it really is worth a read.

Photos are of the author at her desk and with her compost.

Happy composting -


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I have read similar things by more recent writers ( Petter Bennett ) but its realy great to see something of this date . I would realy love to have a copy and will be on the look out , any tips on where to look .
Hi Christopher and Scarlett ... the basic difference I believe is in the activators. And for sure, there are many activators around. Experiment, experiment!

Both Stinging Nettle (which pops up feral in my yard) and Yarrow which I bought from Bunnings yesterday, grow happily in and around Briz. I suspect they would be frost tender. Yarrow is a 'dry' herb not liking wet feet. And honey direct from the beekeeper is fairly easy to get.

Christopher - just go to the link in my first post and copy and paste your own copy direct from the web page. That's what I did and spent a while editing it and putting it into a desktop publishing programme then printing it. I can print one up and post it to you but that entails time and out of pocket expenses for me. I love doing this kind of thing but I am not in a position to do it for free, unfortunately.

An alternative is to get the title and author and do a 'net search and see if any of the used book sellers here or overseas have a copy and buy it from one of them. I have done this with other books, it can be a tad costly with airmail postage but it's well worth a try.

The book is called: Common-Sense Composting: the Quick Return Method by Maye E Bruce, Faber and Faber Limited 1946. Searching on her name would be more likely to return results as I do not know if I have the title exactly correct.

Happy composting

thank you for that info ,i love old books and will be looking out for that , in the meen time i will do as you suggested and down load it
comfrey and elderflower also very good as activators - and easier to get in this climate, although i have seen yarrow growing (Achillea sp)
I have grown and used comfrey before, it grows very well here , I grew it as a border plant and then just cut it back and used it as mulch .
I planted comfrey in the shade (I think Scarlett? said it can become an invasive pest like mint) it is still going strong after nearly a year.
Comfrey certainly does grow on a rhizome and creep a bit, but so far after 5 years, my Comfrey plant has not moved more than a foot. Nothing like mint! Now mint (and a few other I can think of e.g. Yarrow) are enthusiastic growers and act as though they'd like to take over the yard. I had heard that Comfrey can become invasive but the several times I have grown it, it has been well behaved. And yes, it likes a bit of shade.
Yes, mine hasn't been at all startling up here. Perhaps it likes melbourne weather better, which I find surprising. I've seen it in very big clumps in some people's gardens up here, but perhaps it had been there for ages. In melbourne it's a declared noxious weed. I've been very ginger about using it because it can get away from you so badly, but perhaps I don't need to worry.
Good grief, I've heard it all! Comfrey (Symphytum sp) a noxious weed! Such a useful plant for the naturopath and homoeopath ... ah well, it must be a cold-adapted plant to be so enthusiastic in Melbourne. - Elaine
i have read of it and heard of it as "knit bone " as it is reputed to have wound healing and bone knitting propertys when used as a compress, but is no longer recomended to be used internally .
yes i think people started to panic about liver damage from self-prescription. banning won't do it. maybe info on dosage would be more useful? sigh.
Dear Food Enthusiasts in Brisbane,

Referring back to Elaines original link, I can advise that I have written a book about Maye E Bruce and her Quick Return composting method. For further details you could visit my website

Kind Regards and Happy Composting!


Andrew E Davenport


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