Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

The only garbage that leaves our kitchen via the front door are those items that can't be eaten by either chooks, worms or their friendlies.

Any big item with a dead animal background -- if not fed to the dogs (or the chooks sometimes) -- is buried outback. 

The scrap bin that accepts all the chopped leftovers from food prep, is emptied into the chook corral. 

'Flung' is a better verb. Flung into the chook corral.

Washes, soaking water, leftover tea, milk residues, produce rinsing water, leftover cooking water...almost every liquid --except 'washing up' water  -- is collected and decanted into the outdoor ferment pot.

Hither and yon there may be some human urine spread about...(but don't tell anyone).


I've been running the Ferment Pot for 6 months now and the protocol works a treat.

It takes me around 2-3 weeks to fill the vessel with fluid collected from the kitchen. 

While all the food residues in these liquids will feed an active naturally driven fermentation, I also add one kilogram of raw sugar and generous quantities of Aloe Vera Raw Material and Aloe Vera Fertiliser.

That volume is enough to cover my whole garden with the fermented 'tea'.

The worms love it and I aims to please my worms.


After getting a couple of new chooks the 'compost bin' corral inside the chook pen is getting turned over every day.

The poultry love the space. All their food is thrown there -- kitchen and garden offcuts, any pulled weeds and sundries. 

I say, that we should live by the slogan, "Turning compost  is for the birds!" 

One thing is  certain: it isn't for me!

My original pair of chooks were lazy but the extras are real earth movers. 

You need to wait until the microbiology kicks in. Keep feeding the pile as one does with one's rubbish. The chickens do the rest.


I've been adding whiz to my garden for  a year. It's routine. I wouldn't recommend the regular habit for clay soils, but on sand, micturition works. 

As I say, it's all about the routine. Collecting is preferable to being caught with your pants down. Fresh is always best unless you want to tolerate whiffery.


While I grow some of my own mulches, my primary soil carpeting means is  grass clippings that are dumped on my nature strip. My mower guys love me 'cause i save them big bucks in tip fees. All I have to do is move the clippings from roadside A to garden bed B ...relentlessly.

As well, all paper, boxes and cardboard that enters our place is dumped on the spaces between  the garden mounds.

I finally tweaked the system to my liking: paper product + brush cuttings + lawn clippings = rotting pathways. Must be walked on.

Once or twice a year: throw down some manures. 

Walk on.

Builds compost. Suppresses weeds. Links mounds to one another. A sea of paper and stuff swirling around my gardening islands.

The worms say, "Thank you".

The embarrassment is on rubbish bin day when this big lumbering truck pulls up outside to collect a bin that has hardly anything in it.

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Comment by Dave Riley on September 10, 2016 at 18:08

Just use it diluted. pH is complicated in the soil mix as far as I can work out and the critters of the soil work it out amongst themselves as they are homemakers . In the whey may be some 10-20 species -- at least -- of lactobacillus, living and frisky. To survive they need a happy medium.So they work together until they exhaust themselves, run out of menu, change the neighbourhood,  behore other microbes  take over.

Compost microorganisms operate best under neutral to acidic conditions, with pH's in the range of 5.5 to 8. During the initial stages of decomposition, organic acids are formed. The acidic conditions are favorable for growth of fungi and breakdown of lignin and cellulose. SOURCE

And further:

The full story is a bit more complex than I have stated in above. You might remember that one of the benefits of compost is that it buffers pH (Benefits of Composting). It absorbs ions and tends to keep the pH of soil from changing too much. In some alkaline or acidic soil, compost can absorb enough ions to move the pH closer to neutral. These will be small changes in pH. Don’t expect huge drops in pH by adding some compost. In conclusion, compost may move the pH of your soil closer to neutral, but for the most part it will not affect the soil pH very much. For most gardeners who are growing a variety of plants, the shift in pH is a non-issue.SOURCE

The whey may not be 'compost' -- but it sure is a compost precursor or catalyst.It's an inoculant.
Comment by Sophie on September 10, 2016 at 17:47
Hmmm thanks Dave. Am reluctant to mess with ph, have tried so hard to get it neutral. Where is this best to go? On to a compost pile first?
Comment by Dave Riley on September 10, 2016 at 10:15

You'll get a mould on top. I'd dilute it with other waters-- 2:1. .Lacto is usually anaerobic so it is downing in the mix rather than doing breast stroke on top. if you want to foster it, add some sugar. Microbes need food, you see, so they can run their course. 

I also 'inoculate' my cocktail with the aloe vera ferment so it is sure to brew.

The odour you get is akin to baby vomit.You are  making a mix to feed the soil so this isn't a foliar spray. 

Straight it will be delivering an acidic punch of around 4-5pH.

I always hose after watering with the mix. 

Comment by Sophie on September 10, 2016 at 9:38
Inspired, I saved a week's worth of lacto waste in a big pot. It smells but noticed there is some mould floating on top. Hesitant to pour on garden as that probably means the lacto-bacteria is not out competing the mould?
Comment by Dianne Caswell on September 2, 2016 at 16:20

Last but not least, I use spent Coffee Grains that I get from a coffee shop for free. There is a Blog on the subject if anyone would like to read it.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on September 2, 2016 at 16:17

Yes we are so lucky on BLF to have some very talented people don't.

I try to buy all my ingredients in  paper bags, then they go into glass jars. We have very little plastic here. Our bin sadly to say is always full of cardboard as Graham works from home and he received a lot of parcels here. We don't need the cardboard in the garden but if you do you are welcome to it. We do shred all over paper documents, envelops etc.

We have 8 Worm Towers (they don't smell) and they do a terrific job, we often use them to put Vegies into that may have seeds also our Citrus, as well as soft cuttings from the Vegie Patch. There are 2 Worm Farms that work well for the Juice, though they do need their homes upgraded to a higher level. We don't feed the Worms Citrus or Onion. There is also a small Bamboo Patch to use for stakes, and climbing ladders.

Have a Lovely, Healthy, Gardening Week End. 

Comment by Mary-Ann Baker on September 2, 2016 at 14:55

we do have trouble in that we dont have enugh compost for chooks ducks worm farm and compost bins ! do make cow poo tea and work tea and weed tea from our critters too 

Comment by Mary-Ann Baker on September 2, 2016 at 14:53

wow what incredible ideas you all have - our 5 step processed water recycler uses a process that relies on bacteria so we have to put waste water down it and never use any chemicals ... we only put out our waste bin once a month or so and  our recycle bin with plastics when we have too though we dont buy much in plastic - visit our recyle reclaim centre nearly every week as we are still looking for resources to reuse ! 

Comment by Dave Riley on September 2, 2016 at 13:23

I stuff a shade cloth in the  hole in the lid so air circulates in and out but flies don't pass. I stir the combo every few days or so when I'm adding stuff. Of course when I spread it about the mulch on the garden acts as a filter.

Every time I drain the pot, there's always sediment left over at the bottom. Most of which I leave there to 'inoculate' the next batch.

I also found a use for my large gauge nozzle galvanized watering can. Just right for filling up, carrying and spreading the ferment mix about the patch.

I think the pot is just short of 70 (or 90 or 100?) litres so we aren't talking concentrated goo.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 2, 2016 at 12:40

One thing I did notice with Bokashi liquid was the alacrity with which the flies gathered. To me it did not smell 'off' but the flies thought so. Whatever was in the EM inoculant I used the local fly population relished although I don't think they ever laid eggs in it. No fly-blown vegetable scraps fortunately. The liquid was a really good fertility-booster. Broken down with water 10 to 1 more or less, the plants responded with enthusiasm.

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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.)

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