Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

This weather growing plants from seed can be problematical in that new factors impact on their nurseryhood.

So in frustration, I seized the opportunity to experiment with my seed and cutting raising protocols.

  • I bought some plant cells seedling trays -40 cell Hard Plastic Seedling Tray (L-350mm x W-215m x H-87mm) which are extremely durable and reusable. From here for  the going price.Unfortunately for the backyard gardener you need to buy a few. It is a variation of the Hiko 40 cell tray design.

So far so good. I'm using them  in quantity not only to grow seeds but to nurse my Vetiver cuttings. They may be a tad too narrow for Vetiver but I'm hopeful. I like the open bottoms and the fact that I should be able to remove the seeding or cutting many times without destroying the tray fame.The fragility and lack of recyclability of so many potting vessels annoys me no end.

Thinking that time will tell what works and what does not -- I then looked at my budget outlay in seed raising mixes. These bags of 'blend' can be expensive. I had been making my own mixes but they proved not so reliable.

  • Now I'm in transition and now experiment with commercially composted cow manure as a seed raising medium. It is a common procedure in Indian small scale agriculture. There's even a cottage industry making plant pots out of manure. I'm not Vedic or of its  kin, but this video so impressed me and a friend (she runs cattle) that we are cow pat aficionados -- dabblers in the dung, so to speak. (Her hobby is also dung beetles)

So far so good.

Since I can get 25 litres of aged and composted cow manure for $6.80 a bag here-- my wallet appreciates the shift.

The thing is: does it work? [I'll get back to you on that.]

I may be surrounded by horse and cattle farms but at $2.50+ per bag at the farm gate -- un-composted -- the commercial product is really much cheaper, better value and immediately useable and safer -- despite the unknown cattle.

  • The next change in my nursery habits was to introduce 'potting up'. Rather than replant the growing seedling directly into the soil -- some, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers especially --  I re-pot into a larger container and grow them on before planting out. Of course if you are paying top dollar for seed raising mixes such a move would be expensive, but with cow dung -- the world's your oyster.

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Hope it works for you Dave,  Last week I watched a long video on an Indian leader who taught how to use cow manure and cow urine for all their lush vegetable gardens and it was an amazing hour long video,  Near the end, it stated that it only worked with Desi cows and bulls.  Straight away I googled to see if they were in Australia, and I think the closest is a Zebu type cow.  It seems it is the equivalent of an A2 type Indian cow.

See LINK for a description of Desi cows.

The issue is: does it work? By means of the cow's poo alone?

We know from many contributions and literature that cow manure is 'N:P:K kosher' -- but how 'better' is it when composted? And is it safe enough to plant any number or variety of seed in?

'Like movement thru a cow's back end, only time will tell...'

With FOUR cow stomachs on our horticultural side of the bovine's back passage, why expend energy-- and stress out -- turning over a compost pile? Or, for that matter, buying in further supplements?

Cows are cows. Their output depends on their input. No doubt, if I'm buying commercial poo, a lot of it is gonna be feedlot sourced ( how else can the quantities be collected) or from very hard working milking sheds keen on value added.

Or both.

Such is manure in quantity piles.

My local grazier cannot compete. That's the irony. Australia is drowning in the dung of just over 27 million bovines and all we get from their everyday grazing is flies.

Come on city folk, let's take in more poo!

Mike Rowe's “Dirty Jobs” cow farm that specializes in making gardening pots out of cow manure

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