Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I am absolutely the worst person to foster seeds into life i know the biology but when it comes to practice I'm all over the place.

For me it's like baking cakes: a good idea but I seem to lack the genes.

I'm also not a fastidious person.

I do have seeds. I do read the seed porn catalogues. And I do store my seeds nicely: in sleeves inside an insulated bag.

But the growing thereof can be frustrating given my mental attributes.

I try to service Nature as best I can with due order on my part and being considerate  when mixing the seeds with soil.

Since I've become a Vetiver junkee, my nursery skills have attained competence.So I'm feeling smug just in time for this virus and the Autumn planting season to arrive.

So I've been planting seeds all day while telling myself that I need to look after them. I'll add seed cells and pot photos later, but for now I want to share my delight in cheap stuff to grow the wee things in.

Working with Vetiver we use a lot of Fine Farms 25L Cow Manure  it is our go to for the planting out in dubious soils. It also serves as I 'fertiliser' swilled in a bucket.

Cheap too with a great cow pat smell.

Yumm. You could eat it.

Fine Farms also offer a Cow Manure Blend which is as cheap as chips and certainly a lot less expensive than purpose built blends like proprietary seed raising mixes.

So far, this blend is working well as a blend to raise seeds in.

At $3.50 for 25 litres why argue?

So I'm using that. So far so good.

If you wonder about this -- composted cow manure + I refer you to this video I shared here 2 years ago. It has inspired me greatly.

Vedic  folk are cow people, of course, but I've since proven to myself that cow dung delivers. The veg garden we created in Chinchilla from cow dung has gone great guns -- even during the drought.

All collected from the paddocks.

I've written about the cost of local manures here on the suburban periphery. But I'm sold on Fine Farms' poo  even if it is likely feedlot leftovers. It's still the cow's end and stomachs at work.

*Bread Crates can be purchased from here.

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I ordered some sugar can and cow manure from the local Scout Group fundraiser a month or so ago and it arrived last week. I added a bag to my raised bed and gave it a good mix through (the soil is supposed to be ‘premium’ but I have my doubts) to improve it. I think the bed will do very well with the extra nutrients.

The soil in general at our house, is terrible. We live on a ridge line and it’s basically just shale. Yesterday I dug a bag of manure into a spot where I wanted to plant some pineapple crowns but I really need something a bit more cost effective so the manure blend seems like a good idea. It can provide some nutrition as well as extra soil to the bed. Thanks for the tip!

With the straight manure, we dig the planting hole and refill it with a 1:1 mix of original soil plus manure.The blend is OK too but I'd fill the hole with it rather than mix.

You really don't have to replace the whole bed as all that mixing work further afield will be done soon enough by earthworms. Cow manure added to soil is a great inoculant already microbially active.

Composted, it even has more microbes  at work.

All my uncles had dairy farms and it's on those I spent my hols growing up. Each milking shed had a huge pile of manure next to the corral and these piles were always shimmering with worm activity.

Imagine a pile of manure 2 metres high just sitting there. Thirty cows or so can make a lot of poo while waiting to be milked.

Chasing cow pats around the paddocks with a shovel & bag is not so much fun. So pity the hobby farmer as dropped manures pollute their limited acreage so that their stock will not graze where the toilet freshly was. 

Fair enough. Livestock have table manners.

And cow has far less seeds than horse, not as ph brutal as poultry...composted or dried, it's just right -- like Goldilock's porridge. You can never have too much cow manure around the place.

As for them stomachs. As an active fermenter i think the ruminant gut is one of the great miracles of the universe. It turns grass into milk and beef...and such wonderful  soil additives. No wonder the Vedics believe in the 'Holy Cow'.

It is getting harder to buy genuine heirloom seeds and if they are open pollinated you have good seeds.  With all the native bees and insects we have in our backyard, we should be able to save the best seeds.

I may try the cow poo and see how it goes.  I wonder if Tim the horsepoo deliverer is still working.  

Here's the latest images of my seed to seedlings growing project in my cow manure blend.

I use these containers because I want the seedling to have some root depth.

These are watered daily and sit in full sun. Please excuse my labelling tardiness.

I finally get to plant out some seed.seedlings grown in the cow manure blend. Here we have some corn that has sprouted and grown well in the cells. Obviously, the seeds weren't all alive-O but once they sprouted that's a good beginner root ball. for a cow poo mix.

Good texture and easy to handle. They popped out of the cells with one finger poke. Not so friable that the root and soil falls apart in your hand. The other advantage is that  I can put the same manure blend in the hole I plant the seedling into so there is less chance of shock.

These seeds were brought on:

  • in full sun
  • daily watering
  • planted in cow manure blend
  • in open bottom cells resting on plastic mesh (bread trays)

I should now add a newly discovered proviso.

This blend is Ok but it holds too much moisture. I've since mixed in some Perlite. It isn't the wetness so much as the lack of breathing space for the roots. .

This is useful: Perlite vs. Vermiculite Uses, Differences, and Misconceptions

Still waiting for my seeds to arrive. Boondie are a bit slow.  Maybe this week, everything will come at once.  The manure is working for you Dave.

We are finding it hard to buy simple cabbages at big shops, we really miss these greens at dinner time.  Is this a problem everywhere?

I think it is Christa. No matter where you go, there seems to be a a shortage of something or other and there’s no rhyme nor reason to it. Having said that, I got the shock of my life at Bunnings Cannon Hill on Tuesday afternoon when they had a full stock of vegetable seedlings. Must have been new stock and I’m sure they’re all gone by now. Seeds are hard to come by almost everywhere. Fresh fruit and veg is hit and miss. 

I can put some cabbage seeds in a ziplock bag and leave them in your letter box next time I'm over your way. 

I've resorted to seeds as well.  Planted out the cabbage seedlings today and will start a truck load more cherry tomatoes.  I want to get as many bottles of tomato sauce made as possible in the next 3 months. 

nice one! mmm winter brassicas -I shld get a wriggle on :)


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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

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