Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Nothing leaves my property that is likely to rot away.

With my 3 hard working chooks I have garbage processing covered. I call it back end composting.

What is not chooked-over, like bones is buried in holes and trenches about the place -- uslaly under stone ware dinner plates so the dogs can't dig them up..

My paths are highways layered with paper and cardboard and strewn with a carpet of brush cuttings and sometimes manure.

So I love trench composting. Any excuse to bury stuff.

Down at the chook pen, I've built a pen within a pen -- a three sided corral into which I throw the kitchen scraps. The chooks keenly work through this every day so that there is usually nothing left by teatime.

However as a rodent protection, i turn over the floor of the corral and bury what scarps may be left in situ. Later I harvest that corral dirt for garden use.

Ironically, any fly infestation feeds the system because the chooks love to dine on maggots.

But you need to feed 'em the scraps early in the day and make sure they are well worked over before any night time visitors arrive.

With 3 -- and soon to be 4 -- pens among my immediate neighbours we are sure to have rats. ... and the buggers eat my seedlings .

I keep a stainless steel kitchen pot on the bench in the kitchen. One with two handles and a secure heavy lid. Into this go all the kitchen scraps and all the waste fluid from washing and cooking veg and such.

Over the day is soaks and brews.

I take this pot outback and pour its contents through a strainer into my large ferment tank. The leftover solids go to the chooks.
Every so often I decant the tank's contents -- which I  inoculate with aloe vera fertilizer -- onto the garden.

The system seems to work.

You still need  grains/layer mash to feed the poultry, but I've found that grains are the primary rodent magnets so I watch to make sure all of the grains and seed is eaten.

With rats you should  get snakes, but my dogs seem to have spooked the serpents.That and my frequent hand watering.

So what we have here is no Garden of Eden.

Afterall:

Genesis 3:1-7

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" read more.
The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

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Interesting reading Dave. I only wish I had chooks to feed everything to that is waste, but I do compost everyday. So I guess I get one tick.

Hi Dianne ,you may  not have chooks but your AEROBIN composter really packs a punch as far as composting goes,you may want to elaborate more to everyone about it and take the chain off it .I promise I wont take it lol.

Yes I do love my AEROBIN Composter.  You follow the instructions of what to put in when, it makes the most beautiful Compost, almost good enough to eat. I also throw in Bulk Spent Coffee Grounds as well. Lots of information here on how it works AEROBIN, AEROBIN 400

They carefully don't even hint at the price. Only contact for Australia is an email address.

Elaine, WormsRUs were selling the 400 aerobin for about $350 on their website.

Good keep selling ... phhht.

Here is  a great summary of trench composting: LINK.

I avoid sending biomass away as well – oxalises bulbs are the only thing binned.

Trench composting is too much work for me. I did try burying bottomless pots in the garden for the scraps but I prefer the 3 tier worm farm. I give most of my scraps to the worms and then feed the worms to the chooks. They get the carrot and sweet potato peelings for variety and they get eaten quickly.

I pour water (collected in a bucket under the laundry tap with rinse water from sprouts for the chooks and washing hands etc) over the worm farm and use that with charlie carp and seasol to feed seedlings and young plants. Every now and again empty out the bottom tray and top dress my wicking boxes or add to the seedling mix. An easy way to separate is to feed the worm castings to the chooks. There is always more than enough worms in the upper trays to continue with. I have also had a problem with geckos eating the worms if I haven't put the lid on properly.

I don't leave grains out where rodents can get it either. A couple of weeks ago I heard a squeak outside my back door and found a python snake wrapped around a rat. I think he had been living in my roof during winter. I live near bush so I am going to get rats. I gave up on growing wheatgrass for my chook because of the rats.

I haven't heard of aloe vera fertiliser but have thought of burying it under plants as a non soluble, easy grown sustainable fertiliser. If grown in the right place it doesn't need a lot of water. I have recently planted some under the tamarillo tree. That should stop the chooks digging up the mulch.

We find it hard to compost now. Our main system is a type of hole in the ground with a lid on it and a separate one for our doggie doodles.  Rats are noticed now, so we cannot just throw it on the ground. The dogs and the python are both trying to keep the rats at bay.  Better to return food scraps to the ground than in a wheelie bin. 

Hubbie tries to dig a hole every now and again but he has been advised not to lift anything over 5 kg now. We will have to try and make the garden as self maintaining as possible in the next few years.  Pity we cannot get some unemployed persons to earn some money, and do the things we no longer can like pulling weeds and tidying up etc.   A garden is such a nice peaceful place to sit in and enjoy nature and see things grow.

Makes me think of that old paint motto "Keep on keeping on"

Is it practical for you to put the food scraps into a fallow garden? Especially the above-ground ones, less likelihood of rats and dogs getting at anything. Just keep filling up the fallow garden until it won't take any more, then plant a cover crop. Move onto the next fallow garden. I know a bit about digging among tree roots and clay soil ;-\

Elaine, digging is out for us, can't balance on one foot.  Do you mean if we get more wicking bins (which is what we are going to do soon) and place in the food scraps then sugar cane mulch and soil layer etc. till we fill the bin. Keep a soil top layer to plant cover crop.  Is that what you mean.  I thought fallow meant you leave the ground to rest. Sometimes I'm a bit of a dodo.  

Thought that by using the above-ground beds there would be no digging. I don't know how many beds you have so it was just a suggestion. I reckon to put the scraps just under the top soil and mulch where the aerobic organisms and worms can get at them. So far down would be anaerobic and may be not so efficient.

Fallow does mean leaving the ground to rest. It's not always possible to have a cover crop. I have used the buried scraps method particularly when starting new bins and new spaces in the garden proper. It just adds some quick organic matter which has different nutrients to the mulch and solves the 'what do I do with the scraps' question. Burying scraps could be part of your rotation it is sometimes with mine. With so few beds though (speaking personally) scrap-burying is not as practical as I'd like it - so little time, so many scraps, so many crops I want to grow ;-)

I use a series of plastic rubbish bins in which to make compost. Holes in the bottom and sides and a solid lid. Layer the scraps with sugar cane mulch or other 'brown' ingredients. Keep filling and layering. Use a compost starter if you prefer, or Comfrey or I use BD 500. Aerate now and then using a Gedye compost spiral. No digging but a bit of hauling on the spiral. Probably 12 months for quite decent compost so a few bins sitting in the shade are needed to make it all happen.

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