Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Our intention, with the soil in our yard is to build it up and let it take care of itself eventually in a natural way.   The wicking bins also need topping up annually.   We are tying to make things easier for ourselves as we get older.  The garden is almost full of permanent plants and only  our little decorative and supplemented veggie plants, need regular work.  We have delegated Tuesdays as our gardening day, spraying, composting etc.

 Well I have finally figured what the C:N figures are all about in compost books etc.  Our latest toy is an Aerobin 400.  We found that we had about 4 different composting heaps, which were not successful for us.  A hot compost heap, in my opinion, is the best system.

There are different recipes in different books and websites, and it can be very confusing. One website which made sense to me was HERE.  We placed our bin on  a concrete path not far from the back door and closeby the house, and we have put scrap bins for carbon- BROWNS and nitrogen- GREENS.  

So now I have managed to work out the recipe required for good compost, I can use all the stuff I have heaped around the yard.  It took us a whole day to 3/4 fill the bin, which has the capacity to carry up to 400kg of compost.  It should reach a temperature between 50 and 70 degrees. I have ordered a temperature probe to check on this.  Most weed seeds should be heated and killed but diseased plants etc will not be included.    

This heap should shrink within the next couple of days, so we will see how we go.  The 2 base doors, will allow us to access to the finished product.  As this is the start time of our compost heap, we will have to wait a couple of months for our first lot. From then, it will be ongoing. 

Most of us have our own adequate ways of handling our scraps, and I would love to hear them all. This Aerobin 400 is our answer now. 

TODAY is the 3rd day after filling the aerobin and I received the temperature probe in the mail today and tested the temp.  It reached 131 degrees F or 55 degrees C which is just over the active mark and into the hot area of the gauge.  The probe is 500mm long stainless steel with a gauge on top. 

Just read on Gardening Australia site

Question:- Can you compost all weeds?
Answer (JOSH:) You can compost anything organic, but to kill persistent weeds you need a really hot compost, about 65 degrees Celsius and above. Home composting systems rarely get that hot so weeds with rhizomes or bulbs, like couch grass or oxalis, are best put in the bin.

7 days since filling the compost  aerobin and temp reads 120F or 48.8 C which leaves it in the active stage and starting to cool down a bit.

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Replies to This Discussion

Some of us have seen your place and your use of recycled items and your attempts to replenish your growing area. It would be lovely to have a patch of virgin soil. Is there any left in Australia.

One can only imagine the damage to soils that happens when we have a flood.  Both of us in our household have been badly affected by toxins (asbestos and chemicals) in our bodies.  At this stage in time, I am doing my best to learn about soils and soil coverings. Keep up the good work. We need people like you. 

I agree Christa, Hi Five to Dave, who has showed us a fantastic example of turning nothing into something Special.... Always willing to try different methods and then generous enough to share those findings with us on BLF site.

I have a set up of 9 homemade compost bins which I rotate in sequence by turning over during the composting process ... I don't have any thermometers and I just gauge by its progress. 

I don't get too worried about if the temps aren't enough to kill off all the seed that may be in there but I don't seem to ever have too much of a problem. 

I just stick with the brown and green layering principles wet it down and throw a carpet over the bin and keep it simple.

I have learned the hard way not to put too much sawdust in there as a brown layer :-(  

Between that and my worm compost, it gives me enough soil amendments for my no dig garden set up. 

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GrowVetiver

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.


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